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Connecticut Legislature Places Restrictions on the Use of the Title “Social Worker”

On July 9, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law Public Act No. 19-164 “An Act Concerning Social Workers,” (PA 19-164) which sets forth new restrictions on individuals seeking to hold themselves out as social workers in the State. This law takes effect October 1, 2019.

Specifically, PA 19-164 prohibits anyone from using the title “social worker,” or any associated initials, or advertising services as a social worker unless he or she (1) has a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE); (2) has a doctorate in social work; or (3) if educated outside of the U.S. or its territories, has completed an education program CSWE deems equivalent. Existing law already prohibits anyone who is unlicensed from using the title of licensed master or clinical social worker or advertising services as such.

PA 19-164 includes an exemption to the above restriction that allows State and municipal employees with the title “social worker” hired before July 1, 2019, to continue using that title to describe or perform their employment duties. The law also requires the State to specify on any posting for a job in social work that does not require a social work license that the preferred qualification is a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program or a doctorate in social work.

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