****If you are a member of NASW and you did not receive this email, please check and make sure your email address is updated with our National NASW office. NASW-KY is not able to change your email, only you are through the National website, so please do so immediately as you may be missing important newsletters and updates!
The power point provided by the Public Protection Cabinet was unable to be accessed on this website, so please contact the PPC if you would like to view their power point. All members of NASW were given this information, so please consider joining NASW so you can receive all of the timely updates important to the largest professional membership for social workers in the world!!
As members of NASW, it is important for me to share with you just how impressed and encouraged I have been by the outpouring of support from many of you, from our National office, our other Chapters across the country, and our collaboration with the Kentucky Society for Clinical Social Work, in regards to the anticipated restructuring of our KY Board of Social Work. It has been empowering to see that our NASW mission statement is not just rhetoric, but the reality of what our association stands for, especially in the most challenging of times. It has taken this difficult time for our profession in Kentucky to be reminded of how important advocacy, social justice, and community activism truly is and how receptive and responsive our NASW association and membership is in addressing concerns that impact our profession.
Before we share the current events impacting our BSW, let’s highlight why licensure is important and why we advocate for all social workers to be licensed: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Statutes/chapter.aspx?id=38874
Licensure protects the public, licensure protects us as individual social workers, and licensure protects our profession. We must maintain the high standards of our profession as outlined in the above ky.gov links, as well as in our Code of Ethics. We appreciate that some agencies and institutions are exempt from licensure, but we sincerely encourage every social worker to be licensed. Currently, we have over 5200 licensed social workers in Kentucky, and we expect that number to rise with the May 2017 graduations across the state.
On Wednesday, June 7th, the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations met in Covington to hear the presentation from our Public Protection Cabinet(PPC) regarding their plan to restructure 38 Boards across Kentucky. I have attached the power point from this presentation, and encourage you to share it. As you know from our newsletters, the Governor is moving towards an Executive Order, now stated to be on 7.1.17, to restructure Boards due to the NC Dental case that went to the Supreme Court and resulted in some states seeking “oversight” with the goal of protecting board members from lawsuits. For more information, please review this link: https://media.nasba.org/files/2015/11/2016-1117-The-US-Supreme-Courts-Decision-in-NC-Dental-Board-Implications-for-State-Boards-of-Accountancy-FINAL-Nov-17th.pdf
As we have shared over the past few months in our newsletters, the PPC has decided that in order to provide this oversight, boards must be combined under a “unit” board, previously referred to by the PPC as an “umbrella” board. As we have stated in our newsletters, this is not a merger, or a Superboard, but a restructuring. We will be one of eight disciplines under the newly titled “Behavioral Health and Human Services” unit board. We will continue to be referred to as the “Board of Social Work” under the BHHS unit, and will now have 5 board members instead of 7. There will be one Executive Director over all 8 boards under the BHHS unit, and PPC staff who will be providing office support for our BSW.
What does this mean for our BSW? In 2009, our BSW became independent, through legislation, with our own Executive Director and staff of one. At present, we have one Executive Director, Florence Huffman, and two full time staff, Lisa Turner and Lindsay Redmond, who have handled the daily operations of the office and support of the Board. As the only independent board of the new BHHS, we will be losing our staff. Though they are able to reapply, there is no guarantee as non-merit employees that they will be rehired. There are other unit boards that are also losing staff due to this restructure.
We are very proud of our collaboratiion with KSCSW and our efforts to educate and notify our members since we learned of this “restructuring” in March. We have both provided input with the PPC about the unit name, which clearly does not include “social work” though we are the largest licensed group of the eight within our unit. We have also been very vocal about our concern that we are losing our independent status and our staff of three full time people. The PPC has stressed that they have staffing to cover our licensing needs. We maintain that our scope of practice is specialized, as are all of the other 7 boards, and because of this we are very concerned about delays in application process and approvals, as well as our LCSW supervision requirements, CEU’s, technology, and responsibilities with the ASWB. Simply, we will go from being an “only child” of one Executive Director to one of “eight” under one Executive Director.
In the power point, you will see that eight options were explored by the PPC, with the final result being the need to restructure boards in order to provide this oversight. We have worked with our legal department to gain a better understanding of how other options and implementations can provide this oversight, and are very concerned that this restructuring is more extreme than needs to be and that other options could allow us to maintain our independent board and staff with the appropriate oversight provided through the Cabinet. As we are all aware, it is our licensure fees and dues that maintain the full cost of our staff and office expenses, so it is within all of our rights to ask where, and how, our dues will be spent in this restructuring of 38 boards.
We did forward some of the questions to Elizabeth.Kuhns@ky.gov and received the below answers on Friday, June 2, with her permission to share them with you. We did not send these out before the session on Wednesday, June 7th in the event we needed to add questions, so you will see some of the answers have changed based on the information from the presentation on June 7th:
****We continue to encourage you to contact Elizabeth Kuhn’s and Secretary Dickerson with your own questions, thoughts, concerns!!
Where do we go from here? It is no surprise to us that our profession is one that is often misunderstood and maligned, because it is always the negative stuff that tends to color over the amazing things we do. Now is the perfect opportunity for us to engage, educate, and empower our public and political partners with a better understanding of what social work is, what we do, what our scope of practice is, why we do this tough job day in and out….we need to tell our stories (without identifying information, of course) and let Kentucky know how hard we work, how much we care, and how focused we are on how the many changes ahead on a state and national level will impact their need for our expertise. We must make sure that our public and political partners understand how dynamic, diverse, determined, and dedicated, we are to our profession of social work. We have our own educational and training requirements, our own Code of Ethics, our own extensive testing requirements, our own skill set, etc., and we have got to be vigilant in clarifying our uniqueness.
We must continue to put momentum in our 2017 March Social Work Month StandUP message, by advocating for our profession. Be proud of what you do and share your story by writing a letter and/or meeting with your public and political leaders, community groups and agencies, churches, etc. Knowledge is power, and no one knows better about the importance of people sharing their stories than a social worker! So let’s get busy!
We are also busy gearing up for Lobby Day 2018. We are going to be building on the success of Lobby Day 2017 and working in collaboration with the Kentucky Society for Clinical Social Work. We will be organizing our social work schools and professionals across the state to be involved with both the planning and implementation of the BEST Lobby Day possible. We are also excited about preparing to support voter rights and education in Kentucky. If there has ever been a time when we need to educate our public on the importance of voting in 2018, it is now!!
As always, NASW-KY is here for you. Please reach out to us anytime with questions, concerns, ideas, and also different regional programs we can provide…..hint, hint….our Somerset Regional Conference last Saturday was fantastic and a huge shout out of gratitude to the wonderful Geoff Wilson, LCSW, and Cumberland Branch Chair, Taylor Dick! And now we have our CSW and LCSW Licensure Prep Class on June 24th in Lexington to get you excited about, perfectly timed for testing this summer, so hurry up and reserve your spot by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t forget about our Heartland CEU Book Club online! Sign up ASAP so you can begin the book on June 15th:
We will soon be announcing our new Board Members for the 2017-2019 term…..be prepared because we are going to continue to KickItUpKentucky!!