clinical social work association

The National Voice of Clinical Social Work 

Strengthening IDENTITY  | Preserving INTEGRITYAdvocating PARITY

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  • 08 Sep 2022 6:53 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

    As those of you who have attended the CSWA webinars on the Social Work Compact know, there is one more week to send your comments to the Council of State Governments on the draft document. Please visit to see information on the Social Work Compact.

    To see the whole draft document, please visit

    To send comments on the draft document, please visit

    The final date for sending comments is close of business on September 16, 2022.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
    Clinical Social Work Association

  • 06 Sep 2022 11:37 AM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

    On August 5, 2022, the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) published data on pass rates for the Clinical Social Work Examination, which it oversees, as well as data on the other three levels of social work licensure (2022 ASWB Exam Pass Rate Analysis for Social Work Licensing Exams []). Publication of this initial data was long overdue. The noted disparities in pass rates, which vary by almost 40% for white and Black social workers were striking. Here CSWA provides historical context and suggestions for steps ahead.

    History of Clinical Social Work Licensure

    The clinical social work examination has been the national standard for independent clinical practice since 19­­­­­­­­­­­­­50 when ASWB (formerly AASWB) began creating examinations and states began licensing clinical social workers (formerly called psychiatric social workers), beginning with California. As clinical licensure became the norm over the next 54 years (the last state to achieve licensure was Michigan in 2004), the profession established a general standard for licensure based on four elements: 1) obtaining an MSW at an accredited school of social work; 2) having 2-3 years of supervised experience, post-MSW; 3) passing the ASWB Clinical Examination; and finally, 4) having a social work licensure law approved by each state legislature and overseen by each state’s Board of social work. All four areas have different oversight mechanisms and little connection to each other. Correspondingly, there are no two states that have the exact same standards.

    There is now a nationwide patchwork system which makes transferring licensure from one state to another problematic. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has overseen schools of social work, but the standards for doing the work that leads to an MSW are quite elusive. Similarly, specific standards for supervised experience vary widely across the states.

    Clearly, clinical social work is a young profession. LCSWs were approved to provide psychotherapy through Medicare in 1965, yet, there has been much fragmentation in the field. Efforts to standardize and integrate all parts of clinical social work were understandably set aside by stakeholder organizations in favor of creating licensure in all states and jurisdictions and achieving vendorship for clinical social workers.

    Next Steps

    There has been a widespread condemnation of ASWB for withholding information about the pass rates and/or being indifferent to the way that the clinical exam has yielded disparate pass rates for BIPOC and older clinical social workers. CSWA is in discussions with the new ASWB Executive Director, Stacey Hardy-Chandler, PhD, about the ways that ASWB, CSWA, and other stakeholders can work together to improve not only the clinical examination, but also the collective preparation of pre-licensed social workers to ensure an equitable exam experience. To this end, ASWB has also issued a statement about their intentions following the release of their report, which includes the following:

    • “Continuing to evaluate all aspects of the licensing exam development process, beginning with an in-depth review of item generation, and then implementing a comprehensive, user-centered investigation of test-takers’ experiences
    • Offering a collection of free resources designed for social work educators to help them understand the exams and candidate performance so they can better prepare their students for the exams and to increase access to exam resources
    • Bringing a greater diversity of voices into the exam creation process through the Social Work Workforce Coalition
    • Hosting community input sessions to expand the range of perspectives involved in the creation of the next iteration of the exams
    • Launching the Social Work Census, an in-depth survey of social workers, to better understand who today’s social work practitioners are and what they do”

    Need for the Clinical Examination

    CSWA is aware of strong opinions of many, including LCSWs, that the clinical examination should be eliminated. There are three key reasons that CSWA does not support this idea:

    1. In order to practice independently, LCSWs need to substantiate they have sufficient expertise to practice psychotherapy independently. The examination is a primary means of assessing that ability.

    2. Passing the examination is written in to each states’ and jurisdictions’ laws and regulations.

    3. The Social Work Compact, currently in development, which would allow LCSWs more flexibility to work in states with a multi-state license, will require LCSWs to pass a national examination.


    CSWA believes that ASWB is now poised to attend to the inherent inequities exposed in the ASWB Clinical Examination process. We hope to work with ASWB toward that goal and encourage others to do so as well. Additionally, CSWA will press forward to advocate for meaningful integration of our education programs and licensing boards, efforts that can significantly impact ways the clinical examination is approached and regarded.


    Kendra Roberson, PhD, LICSW, President
    Clinical Social Work Association

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
    Clinical Social Work Association

  • 06 Aug 2022 9:12 AM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

    Earlier yesterday I sent you the BetterHelp statement which said that they were ending their connection to CareDash.

    Now I am pleased to send you the news that CareDash is backing off their harmful stance toward clinical social workers in private practice, as well. While there are still some problems to be resolved, CareDash has 1) stopped their deliberate confusion about LCSW availability; 2) removed their “book an appointment” option which directed potential patients away from LCSWs who were not part of the CareDash network; and 3) clarified that their information comes from the NPI list of clinicians and has nothing to do with the quality of those clinicians. To see the whole CareDash statement, click HERE.  

    I am fairly certain that the outstanding response of CSWA members to the demeaning policies of CareDash had a major impact on their decision to back off their original stance. Thanks to all of you for your great contributions to this effort.

    CSWA will continue to insist on the rights of all LCSWs in private practice to have access to all patients who want to see them without interference by any external organizations.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
    Clinical Social Work Association

  • 05 Aug 2022 8:48 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

    Here is a link to an article published today in Bloomberg Law today about the CareDash situation which mentions CSWA:

    Keep sending your complaints to your state consumer protection agencies and the FTC. The original post and template can be found HERE. 

    Let me know when you have sent them, as always.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
    Clinical Social Work Association

  • 28 Jul 2022 2:43 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

    Please see below for an announcement from Vot-ER about a CE course they are offering in August. Thank you! 


    Social workers are invited to Vot-ER's virtual Civic Health Conference on August 12th and 13th. Registrants can attend for FREE or earn 7 Continuing Education credits for $40!

    The Civic Health Conference explores the critical role social workers have in improving the health outcomes of patients and clients through civic engagement. Join a wide range of professionals, including nurses, physicians, and social workers, in learning the knowledge and skills necessary to increase patient civic participation. As midterm elections and Civic Health Month approach, we appreciate your support in helping us create a healthier community and democracy. Feel free to pass this opportunity along to your co-workers or other social workers in your network. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email Vot-ER at bhaumi@vot-er.orgLearn more and register HERE

  • 19 Jul 2022 2:22 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)


        July 16, 2022 was the roll-out date for ”9-8-8”, the new US network for people looking for help with suicidality or other emotional crises. This phone number is designed to be used for text or for telephone access to volunteers who will provide initial assistance to callers, then triage them to LCSWs and other licensed clinicians.

          Ultimately, 9-8-8 will become the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK); the new number will be easier to remember and access. This older hotline will remain in effect for an as yet undetermined period of time while 9-8-8 becomes fully operational. 

           There is no question of need: there has been an exponential increase in suicides and suicide attempts since the pandemic began almost three years ago. Here is what LCSWs should know about the implementation of this new system.


    The $400 million set aside in Federal funding for 9-8-8 is about half of what will be needed to fund the services in every state. So far, the only states that have provided the needed state funding are Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Washington. Nine states have legislation in progress to provide this funding; 37 states have no plan to provide funding. CSWA encourages members to ask their state legislators to find the state funding for 9-8-8 so that it can be fully functional as soon as possible. To see what your state’s plan is for funding 9-8-8, go to

    Current Statistics

    How serious is the issue of suicide? Here are the number of suicides in the most recently recorded year, 2020:

    • In 2020, the U.S. had one death by suicide about every 11 minutes
    • Suicide was the leading cause of death for individuals between ages 10-34 in 2020
    • Over 100,000 individuals died from drug overdoses in the nine months from April 2020 to the end of the year

    While 2020 actually saw a decrease in suicides from 2019 overall (17.7%,, of grave concern is the fact that there was an increase for young adults and BIPOC communities of all ages in 2020 ( .

    More Information

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has prepared a toolkit to further explain the need for 988. For FAQs and Fact Sheets, go to Also feel free to contact me for more information.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
  • 11 Jul 2022 5:08 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

    Dear CSWA,

    As you know, CSWA has been involved in the development of a Compact which would allow clinical social workers to practice in all states that join the Compact without having to become licensed in individual states. For the past 8 months, Laura Groshong, CSWA Director of Policy and Practice, and I have attended the Social Work Compact Technical Advisory Committee meetings monthly, sponsored by the Department of Defense and Council of State Governments.

    A document for the Compact has been created which is now available for review by the public, including CSWA members. I encourage all CSWA members to attend one of the two webinars which will be held on July 30 at noon ET and September 8 at 3 pm ET for more detailed information on the Compact. Keith Buckhout and Matt Shafer of the Council of State Governments will be available to explain the process and answer your questions. Registration for these webinars will be on the website shortly.

    Among the issues that will be addressed are:

    • What is an interstate compact?
    • How do states use interstate compacts?
    • How do states join a compact?
    • How many states are required for a compact to be in effect?
    • What are the benefits of a compact?
    • How do compacts preserve state sovereignty?
    • Where do states obtain legal authority to enter compacts?
    • How are compacts administered and enforced?
    • What are the steps in the compact development process?
    • How long can it take to implement a compact?
    • How are compacts funded?

    To review the document before the webinars, go to

    To submit comments or feedback on the draft, please fill out the online survey at

    Please let Laura know if you have any questions and watch for an email later this week from our new Administrator, Angela Katona, regarding how to sign up for one of the two webinars.

    Kendra Roberson, PhD, LICSW

    CSWA President

    Laura Groshong, LICSW

    CSWA Director, Policy and Practice

  • 11 Jul 2022 1:44 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

    Please see below for an announcement from the Telehealth Certification Institute about a CE course they are offering this month. Thank you! 


    Providing culturally adapted care is one of our profession's highest values. However, how to do so is often missing from training, and it is important to us that you and your peers have this practical knowledge.

    In celebration of BIPOC Mental Health Month, Telehealth Certification Institute is providing their "Anti-Racist Telehealth Practices for Racial/Ethnic Trauma Healing" online course (1.5 CE) to our membership this month for free. This course will provide you with practical skills that you can immediately use. You can register for this course only during July 2022 using the coupon code "BIPOCMHM". Please secure your registration and share this opportunity with other clinicians who may benefit. Click here for the course details and to register.

  • 08 Jul 2022 9:49 AM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

    CSWA members have expressed concerns about the way that companies like Betterhelp are providing a kind of mental health treatment based on texting. The lack of direct contact is cause for concern. The asynchronous nature of Betterhelp limits emotional communication.

    A new article from California Healthline written by award-winning journalist Harris Meyer, has just come out and has echoed some of these concerns. The article, “Digital Mental Health Companies Draw Scrutiny and Growing Concerns”, can be found at

    Both Marlene Maheu, PhD, who presented a webinar on telemental health for CSWA, and Laura Groshong, CSWA Director, Policy and Practice, are quoted in the article.

  • 07 Jun 2022 1:48 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

    Below is a Letter to Congress on gun violence that CSWA signed on to with 9 other national organizations which was published in USA Today this morning. ~Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice,, 6/7/22

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