The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged systems that provide help in times of crisis. Regulators may have a role in helping to remove or reduce barriers for social workers seeking to add additional state licenses, so that social workers can provide help wherever it is needed.
A recently published article, Small regulatory reforms that can help people during the COVID pandemic, outlines a variety of ways that regulators can be part of the solution to the challenges presented by the crisis. Its authors argue for removing barriers for licensed professionals practicing across borders through solutions like the one recommended by ASWB: licensure by endorsement. When a jurisdiction recognizes an out-of-state license through endorsement, it is easier for social workers and other professionals to quickly get licensed in a new jurisdiction. They can then fill workforce gaps and serve across state lines sooner.
Electronic practice also provides increased support during this time, and regulators can help by reducing barriers so that social workers may serve clients via telehealth.
The article’s authors—and ASWB—agree that regulatory change is not the only solution to the problems created by COVID-19. But in a time when more people need access to the services social workers provide, easing barriers to licensure may be part of easing COVID-19 outcomes and helping those affected. Small efforts, made by many, can make a big difference.
ASWB has gathered information about state regulatory provisions and policy actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.