- A pair of bills, House Bill 99 and Senate Bill 68, aim to create an interstate compact for social workers, allowing certified professionals to easily obtain licenses for multistate practice.
- States joining the compact must meet specific requirements, such as education accreditation and national exam passage, and can issue multistate licenses for certain social work categories.
- The bills also propose the formation of an oversight committee composed of delegates from member states to handle various administrative functions and ensure compliance with the compact’s provisions.
A pair of bills — one in each legislative chamber — was filed on Monday seeking to establish an interstate compact for social workers, allowing certified professionals to streamline licensure across participating states for the purpose of multistate practice.
The measures, House Bill 99 and Senate Bill 68, outline specific licensing and regulatory requirements for states to join, including education accreditation and national qualification exam passage. Notably, states may choose to issue multistate licenses for certain social work categories, even if they do not meet all compact requirements, and home states can charge fees for granting multistate licenses. Once granted multistate certification, practitioners would be able to perform services in multiple states via in-person or telehealth appointments.
Per the language of the House Bill, a professional license issued by a practitioner’s home state will be recognized by all compact member states as certification for social work authorization.
“A multistate license issued by a home state to a resident in that state shall be recognized by all compact member states as authorizing social work practice under a multistate authorization to practice corresponding to each category of licensure regulated in each member state,” the bill reads.
The legislation also specifies that active military members or a spouse will be able to designate a home state where the individual has a multistate license, which will be retained during a period of active duty.
The measures further propose the formation of an oversight committee that would operate as an independent entity and be composed of a selected delegate from each member state. The committee would engage in decision-making processes and be granted a wide range of powers, including financial oversight, codes of conduct, and various administrative functions.
“The commission is an instrumentality of the compact states acting jointly and not an instrumentality of any one state,” reads the House bill. “The commission shall come into existence on or after the effective date of the compact. Each member state shall have and be limited to one delegate selected by that member state’s licensing authority.”
Should the Florida Legislature adopt one of the bills, it would go into effect when the statute is enacted into law in the seventh member state.
According to the U.S. Social Worker Workforce Report Card, all 50 states are forecasted to experience a shortage of social workers in the coming years, with the number of states with shortage ratios more severe than the current national ratio will increase from 11 states in 2012 to 30 states by 2030. In totality, the nation will experience a total shortfall of over 195,000 social workers, with the most severe shortages occurring in the western and southern regions of the United States.