There has been much discussion in the social work community about who deserves to be called a social worker and who does not. Many Licensed Clinical Social Workers are tackling state legislatures around the country pushing for the enactment of Tittle Protection Statues for use of the title Social Worker. Here lies the rub….these statutes would also prevent others with social work degrees working in nonclinical positions from using the title social worker. Why is this touted as the only solution to require minimum standards for the title? Do we prohibit PhD‘s from using the title doctor when they have not been licensed by the state medical board? No…It’s actually sounds ridiculous when the logic is applied to other positions of prestige. So, why is there a movement to make clinical social workers the standard for social work? As social workers, one of our primary goals are to identify the barriers and challenges preventing families from reaching self-determination. If an individual keeps missing appointments due to transportation, we give them a bus pass or make different arrangements. Instead of preventing nonclinical social workers from using the social work title, have we tried to identify the barriers and challenges preventing minimum standards and training to hold such a title? Well, the questions to consider when asking “Which is a social worker” consist of is it the job duties, the degree, or being licensed that determines who is a social worker.
Personally, I have my own opinion, but I decided to do an informal poll to gauge what others think. The poll asked the question, “Which is a social worker?”. The poll attracted 173 voters from five out of the seven continents with the exception of Asia and Antarctica. Additionally, the poll was not specifically administered to individuals within the social work community, so there is a presumption that the results are more representative of society’s perspective of the social work community than the social work community itself.
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