A Bill In The Kansas Senate Would Get Rid Of The Rules That Social Workers Have To Follow


Social Work Month is in March. This is a time to honor social workers for all they do and how they affect so many Kansans.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the state’s Social Work Practice Act, which is a big deal for social workers in Kansas.

In 1974, social workers in Kansas worked together with the help of the Kansas Council of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) to get the Kansas Legislature to make it a law that social workers needed to be registered.

Neil Arasmith, a Republican from Jewell who used to be a senator, pushed for Senate Bill 623. It was this bill that paved the way for social work to become a profession, and it has controlled the field for 50 years.

Kansas was one of the first states in the country to pass all three levels of licensing: bachelor’s, master’s, and post-graduate practice. At that time, only 11 states had rules that required social workers to have licenses. Missouri, on the other hand, didn’t start requiring social workers to have licenses until 1989. It was the 45th state in the U.S. to do so.

You could legally call yourself a social worker before you got a license and provide mental health services through organizations or in your own home, even if you weren’t qualified to do so.

The law from 1974 explained what social work was, what skills people needed to get a license, who could practice privately, and gave the public a way to get justice and protect themselves from harm.

After SB 623 was passed, Kansas set up the Board of Social Work Examiners, which is part of the Kansas Department of Social Rehabilitation Services and makes suggestions to SRS Secretary Robert Harder. Psychologists and social workers were then regulated by the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board, which was set up in 1980.

This year, social workers, such as the Kansas Chapter of NASW, are supporting HB 2484, which is another important law. Through a social work licensing agreement, HB 2484 will make it easier for people to work in more than one state.

The agreement will let social workers provide consistent care across state lines, including through telehealth platforms, without having to get extra licenses for each state. This will save them time and money.

There were 118 votes in favor of HB 2484 and two against it. The Senate now has the bill. At this point, 22 states have proposed bills like this one. Neighboring states Colorado and Nebraska are among them. Missouri and South Dakota have already made the compact law.

At a time when our state and the country need social workers more than ever, getting rid of the legislative hurdles that stop Kansas social workers from working in more than one state is very important. The problem of social work licenses that can be used in more than one state needs to be fixed so that more people can get professional licenses and more mental health services can be provided.

The main people who help people with mental health problems in Kansas and across the country are social workers. We are at a turning point in the history of our state to make sure that our field can meet the needs of people who need mental health care.

We want you to learn more about social work, not just during Social Work Month. Thank a social worker for their work. They have probably helped a lot of people in our community. The thanks are probably well-deserved after a day of working long hours for low pay and helping others with their problems, which can be hard at times.

Please take a moment to thank the people in your life and community who are doing this important job. Thanks a lot.

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