The Social Work Compact is an interstate compact, or a form of agreement between individual states. If adopted by enough states, it will allow social workers in participating states to apply for a single, multi-state license that would give them practice privileges in all other participating states. As of January 15, 2024, only Missouri has adopted the compact. Several other states will consider legislation to join the compact this year.
In April, I wrote about AAMFT’s decision not to pursue an interstate compact for MFTs. You can see them discuss the issue and their rationale in this video. Their logic came down to two things: 1) since more than half of MFTs are in California and New York, and these states would almost certainly not join such a compact, the benefits to the MFT profession would be limited; and 2) the cost of such an effort, which would require resources to be pulled away from other initiatives, would not be worth it, especially given #1.
I think they’re wrong on both counts.
Telehealth-based mental health care is now the norm. Many clinicians have sought to expand their telehealth practices by getting licensed in multiple states. Psychology, counseling, and social work have all pursued interstate compacts to expand telehealth opportunities for professionals in participating states. This has led many marriage and family therapists to wonder: Why isn’t there an interstate compact for MFTs?
Some problems can have large impacts, and still go unnoticed by the public and policymakers. ASWB’s racist exams for social work licensure are a great example. When people learn of the problem, they tend to be rightly horrified. But most people don’t know about the problem. A letter to the editor of your local newspaper can be a great way to raise awareness of this issue. Here’s a quick guide to writing one.
There is a severe mental health workforce shortage in the US. You have heard this time and time again. In a time of unprecedented demand for mental health care – and deaths from lack of it – we simply don’t have enough therapists. And the therapists we do have aren’t representative of the communities they serve.
The solutions proposed for this problem so far are trivial. But there is a readily available solution to the mental health workforce shortage. It could immediately grow the field by thousands of qualified practitioners. It would dramatically improve diversity within the field at the same time. Even better, it would cost states virtually nothing to implement, and could be done in a week.