Following the release of a horrifying report from the Association of Social Work Boards acknowledging significant racial disparities in license exam performance, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has written to social work boards across the country urging them to pause the use of ASWB social work licensing exams.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday signed Assembly Bill 1759, making a couple of key changes in continuing education (CE) requirements for California MFTs, clinical counselors, and clinical social workers. There’s a new one-time Telehealth CE requirement for everyone, and a new annual Law and Ethics CE requirement for Associates.
The bill was tagged as urgency legislation, meaning it took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature. In addition to making video supervision legal across all work settings, it also newly requires supervisors (in all work settings, not just private practice) to assess a supervisee’s appropriateness for video supervision. I’ve created a form for that, modeled after the specific requirements in the bill. It’s available on my Resources page at the Ben Caldwell Labs site.
On Tuesday, mental health clinicians for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California went on strike. While Kaiser and the union representing the therapists appear to have reached agreement on wages, the sides remain in dispute on issues related to staffing, working conditions, and client access to care. Kaiser reps have responded by calling the strike itself “unethical.” They have said that union leaders were asking therapists to “walk away from people who need help.” Suggesting that your own employees are unethical when they are striking to force Kaiser to improve patient access to mental health care is, as they say, a choice. It’s one that would seem destined to only worsen Kaiser’s ability to recruit and retain therapists in the future.
On Friday, the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) released a report detailing four years of data on its various exams. The report shows that white examinees were almost twice as likely as Black examinees to pass the ASWB Clinical Exam on their first attempt. This data supports the notion that license exams are more than passive recipients of existing inequities in training, and instead actively heighten racial disparities in the mental health work force.