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Social Work Licensure Compact Update: 7th State Passes Compact Legislation Meeting Threshold for Commission

This past legislative session, the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations actively took part in supporting House Bill 1015 which adopted the social work licensure compact.

The compact seeks to increase public access to social work services, provide licensees with opportunities for multistate practice, support relocating military families, and allow for expanded use of telehealth.

On February 6, 2024, Governor Kristi Noem signed HB 1015, making South Dakota the second state to enact the Social Work Licensure Compact. As of April 12, 2024, Kansas became the seventh state to pass Social Work Interstate Licensing Compact Legislation, which is the threshold that had to be met for state to Crete a compact Commission. The commission will govern the compact and ensure coordination between the participating states, which have all passed the compact legislation:

  • Missouri – Passed July 7, 2023
  • South Dakota- Passed February 6, 2024
  • Utah – Passed March 13, 2024
  • Washington State – Passed March 19, 2024
  • Kentucky – Passed March 28, 2024
  • Virgina – Passed April 8, 2024
  • Kansas – Passed April 12, 2024
  • Nebraska – Passed April 15, 2024
  • Vermont – Passed April 23, 2024
  • Maine – Passed April 26, 2024
  • Georgia – Passed May 2024
  • Iowa – Passed May 2024
  • Alabama – Passed May 2024
  • Ohio – Passed May 2024

The legislation has been introduced in 18 other states. Additional states can join the Compact Commission after they pass the Legislation. To learn more about the Model Social Work Interstate Compact Bill, click here.

When looking at advantages of the social work compact, the NASW provides the following:

The compact eliminates barriers to practice and increases access to care (especially in areas that are underserved, geographically isolated or lack specialty care) by increasing the efficiency of becoming licensed across state/territory lines. Currently, social workers must seek a separate license in each state/territory in which they wish to practice, which can be labor- and time-intensive. A compact creates a more efficient processing system, while also protecting public safety. Other benefits include:

  • Facilitating interstate/territory telemental health
  • Improving continuity of care when clients travel or relocate.
  • Encouraging cooperation among compact member states/territories in regulating the practice of social work
  • Preserving and strengthening state licensure systems
What are the next steps? 
  • Implementation: While the social work compact legislation specifies that the compact requires seven member states to initiate implementation, social workers cannot yet practice via the compact in member states. The implementation process for the compact will take approximately 18-24 months. This means that social workers in member states who have passed the compact legislation cannot begin applying for multistate licenses, until initial compact implementation is complete.
  • Commission: The compact is governed by a commission made up of representatives from each member state. The Council of State Governments will lead the process of “standing up” the commission including convening the “charter member states” (commissioners from all states that have enacted the compact legislation at the time of the first commission meeting) to draft the initial rules and bylaws that will govern the compact. The initial compact commission meeting will likely take place in the Fall of 2024.
  • Data System: Another significant step in the implementation process is the development of the compact’s shared data system. The commission is tasked with developing this data system which will communicate licensure information with each member state. Once the data system is in place, member states will be added to the system. It is expected that states will have varying timelines to onboard, which will be largely dependent on a state’s readiness, including existing licensure data infrastructure.
NASW will provide updates to NASW members on new developments and timelines regarding compact implementation. CSG will continue to provide technical support to NASW state chapters advocating for the social work compact.

To learn more about the social work compact and its progress across the country, visit swcompact.org. To get involved with advocating for the compact in your state, please contact your local NASW chapter for available opportunities.

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