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News & Press: Professional Guidance

Practice Alert: Letters for emotional support animals

Tuesday, May 29, 2018   (0 Comments)
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We have received calls from licensed social workers who've been approached by organizations that offer to provide letters of support to the public for emotional support animals (ESAs).

 

These organizations may offer to pay licensees to provide assessment and diagnosis to a “client” who is requesting the emotional support animal. In some examples, these organizations have asked licensees to provide over-the-phone diagnosis.

 

Please exercise caution in writing any letter of support for an emotional support animal and in providing any social work service electronically.

 

In the case of emotional support animal letters, NASW and other expert organizations generally recommend that a social worker have an established therapeutic relationship with a client before offering such a document.

 

While organizations may imply that there is little to no liability on the part of the licensee, it remains the responsibility of the licensee to understand the allowable methods and scope of practice.

 

NASW Ohio is here to provide support about ethics or legalities in social work practice. Members, please feel free to reach out to info.naswoh@socialworkers.org or 614-461-4484.


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