CHAPTER 650

SENATE BILL NO. 742

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NOS. 1 & 4

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 31, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKERS.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Amend Title 31, Delaware Code by establishing a new chapter to be designated as Chapter 37, which new chapter shall read as follows:

"CHAPTER 37. SOCIAL WORKERS

SUBCHAPTER 1. PURPOSE AND CONSTRUCTION:
DEFINITIONS.

§3701. Purpose of subtitle; license required.

(a) The General Assembly finds that the profession of Social Work profoundly affects the lives of the people of this State. It is the purpose of this subtitle to protect the public by setting standards of qualifications, education, training, and experience for those who seek to engage in the clinical practice of Social Work, thereby promoting high standards of professional performance for those engaged in the profession of social work.

(b) In order to safeguard the welfare and health of the people of the State of Delaware, a person may not represent him or herself as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in this State or use the abbreviation LCSW or engage in the practice of clinical social work for fee in a setting other than under the auspices of a public or private nonprofit agency exempt from federal income tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 unless he or she has been duly licensed under the provisions of this subtitle.

§3702. Definitions.

As used in this Chapter:

(a) "Board" means the State Board of Social Work Examiners.

(b) "Clinical Social Work" is defined as a service in which a special knowledge of social resources, human capabilities, and the part that unconscious motivation plays in determining behavior is directed at helping people to achieve more adequate, satisfying, and productive social adjustments. The application of social work principles and methods includes, but is not restricted to, counseling and using applied psychotherapy of a nonmedical nature with individuals, families, and groups.

(c) "Licensed Clinical Social Worker" means any individual duly licensed under the provisions of this Chapter.

(d) "Clinical Practice" means the practice of clinical social work for fee in a setting other than under the auspices of a public or private nonprofit agency exempt from federal income tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

§3703. Limitation on Scope of Chapter. This Chapter may not be construed to limit:

(a) The activities, services and use of an official title by a person in the employ of a federal, state, county, municipal agency, or of other political subdivisions or of private, nonprofit agencies insofar as those services are part of the duties of office or position with the agency. However, an individual in this employ may elect to be subject to this Chapter by applying for a license hereunder.

SUBCHAPTER II. BOARD OF SOCIAL WORK EXAMINERS.

§3710. Board of Social Work Examiners - Creation; Composition; Appointment; Qualifications of Members; Terms of Office; Removal of Members; Vacancies.

(a) There is created a State Board of Social Work Examiners who shall administer the provisions of this Chapter.

(b) The Board shall consist of five (5) qualified persons who shall be appointed by the Governor and whose function it shall be to examine applicants for licensing as clinical social workers.

(c) Members of the Board.

(1) Each member of the Board shall be a citizen of the United States and a resident of this State at the time of appointment.

(2) Three of the members shall be licensed under the provisions of this Chapter, except that the members constituting the first Board shall be persons eligible for licensing as clinical social workers under the provisions of this Chapter. One member shall be selected from and represent the general public.

(d) The term of office of each member of the Board is three years, except that the length of term of the members first appointed shall be as follows: one member shall be appointed for one year; two members for terms of two years; and two members for terms of three years.

(e) The selection of Board members shall be guided by affirmative action policy.

(f) At least one appointment to the Board shall be made from a list of qualified members of the Delaware Chapter, National Association of Social Workers, and one from Delaware Chapter of National Association of Black Social Workers, such list to be furnished to the Governor by said associations.

(g) Every member of the Board shall receive a commission of appointment from the Governor, and before beginning the term of office, shall file with the Recorder of Deeds in the County in which he or she resides a written oath or affirmation for the faithful discharge of official duty.

(h) The Governor may remove any member of the Board for misconduct, incompetence, neglect of duty, or for any other sufficient cause after giving the member a written statement of the charges and an opportunity to be heard.

(i) Appointments to fill a vacancy occurring otherwise than through the expiration of a term shall be for the unexpired term.

§3711. Compensation and Expenses.

Each member of the Board shall serve without compensation, but he or she shall be reimbursed for all proper traveling, incidental and clerical expenses in carrying out the provisions of this Chapter.

§3712. Organization; Meetings; Officers; Quorum.

(a) The Board shall hold regular meetings at times and places as established by the Board or the President. In no event shall there be fewer than two meetings a year.

(b) The Board shall elect annually a President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer.

(c) A quorum of the Board shall consist of not less than three members.

(d) A person may not be appointed to serve more than two consecutive terms.

§3713. Powers.

(a) The Board shall adopt and publish rules and regulations which are consistent with the Constitution and laws of this State which may be reasonably necessary for the proper performance of its duties and the regulations of the proceedings before it.

(b) The Board shall administer, coordinate, and enforce the provisions of this Chapter, establish fees, evaluate the qualifications of applicants, supervise the examination of applicants.

() The Board shall establish continuing education requirements.

() The Board shall adopt and have an official seal, which must be affixed to all certificates issued by the Board.

() In carrying into effect the provisions of this Chapter, the Board, under the hand of its President and the seal of the Board, may subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance and also may require the production of books, papers, documents, etc.

(a) If any person refuses to obey any subpoena so issued or refuses to testify or produce any books, papers, or documents, the Board upon notice to the person may present its petition to the Superior Court of any county setting forth the facts. Thereupon the court shall, in a proper case, issue its subpoena to such person requiring his or her attendance before such Court and here to testify or to produce such books, papers, and documents as may be deemed necessary and pertinent by the Board.

(b) Any person failing or refusing to obey the subpoena or order of the Court may be proceeded against in the same manner so for refusal to obey any other subpoena or order of the Superior Court.

(c) Any member of the Board may administer oaths and affirmations to witnesses appearing before the Board.

(1) The Board shall be empowered to accept grants from any appropriate source to develop tests, to participate in research, and to carry on its functions.

(j) The Board shall act in an advisory capacity to any State Agency in all matters pertaining to the administration and purposes of this Chapter.

§3714. Receipts and Disbursements; Employees.

(a) All money received by the Board shall be paid over to the State Treasurer and shall be credited to the General Fund of the State in accordance with Chapter 61 of Title 29.

(b) All disbursements made by the Board for necessary operating expenses or other authorized expenditures shall be paid by the State Treasurer, out of funds appropriated by the General Assembly for such purpose.

(c) The Board may employ such clerical or other assistants as are necessary for the proper performance of its work, and may make expenditures of this fund for any purpose which, in the opinion of the Board, is reasonably necessary for the proper performance of its duties under this Chapter.

§3715. Records and Reports.

(a) The Board shall Keep a record of its proceedings and a register of all applications for licensing.

(b) The Board shall annually publish a list of the names and addresses of all persons who are Licensed Clinical Social Workers eligible to engage in the practice of clinical social work under this Chapter.

() The Board shall duly publish those rules and regulations adopted by the Board.

evidence to the proceedings of the Board set forth therein. A transcript thereof, duly certified by the Secretary Treasurer of the Board, under seal, shall be admissable in evidence with the same force and effect as if the original was produced.

(e) Annually, prior to December, the Board shall submit to the Governor, a report of its transactions for the fiscal year ending June 30, and shall also transmit for him or her a complete statement of the receipts and expenditures of the Board, attested by affidavits of its President and its Secretary-Treasurer.

SUBCHAPTER III. LICENSING OF CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKERS

§3720. Requirements for Licensing.

Any persons holding themselves out to the general public as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, as defined in Section 3710 of the Chapter, in this State, shall submit evidence that they are qualified as such Licensed Clinical Social Worker and shall be licensed as provided in this subchapter. No person shall hold him or herself out to the public, in this State, as being a Licensed Clinical Social Worker qualified for practice as defined in Section 3710 of this Chapter, or use in connection with his or her name or otherwise assume, use or advertise any title or description tending to convey the impression that he or she is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker unless such person has been duly licensed under the provisions of this Subchapter.

§3721. General Requirements for Licensing.

The Board shall issue a license as a clinical social worker to any applicant who:

(1) Has a doctorate or master's degree in Social Work from a college or university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and Has the equivalent of two (2) years of full time clinical social work experience subsequent to the receipt of an approved graduate social work degree, and

(2) Demonstrates professional competence by satisfactorily passing an examination in the area of specialization in which he intends to practice. The examination may be written or oral or both as prescribed by the Board.

§3722. Experience.

Each applicant shall submit proof satisfactory to the Board that subsequent to the receipt of a master's degree from an accredited school of social work, he or she acquired two years, or its equivalent, of clinical social work experience acceptable to the Board. This experience shall consist of not less than 3,200 hours, at least 1,600 of which have been under professional supervision acceptable to the Board.

§3723. Issuance of License Without Examination.

(a) From January 1, 1977 until March 1, 1977, a license as a Clinical Social Worker may be issued without examination to an applicant who has a master's degree or equivalent including completion of a graduate social work program and satisfies the Board that he or she is and actually has been employed, for at least one year in the clinical practice of social work.

(b) These exemptions shall expire on March 1, 1977.

(c) After March 1, 1977, no person may present him or herself as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as defined by Section 3702 (d) of this Chapter unless he or she is licensed under this Chapter.

(d) Violation of the foregoing shall be class A misdemeanor.

§3724. Reciprocity.

An applicant for licensing under the provisions of this subchapter shall be exempted from the requirement for any examination provided for in this Subchapter if:

(1) the Board is satisfied that the applicant is licensed under the laws of a state or territory that imposes substantially the same requirements as this Chapter; and

(2) pursuant to the laws of such state or territory, the applicant has taken and passed an examination similar to that for which the exemption is sought.

§3725. Suspension, Revocation of License.

(a) The Board may reprimand, revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew the license of any licensee who:

(1) has been convicted of a misdemeanor under this Chapter;

(2) had been convicted in this State or any other state of any crime that is a felony in this state;

(3) is unable to perform the functions of this profession by reason of mental or physical illness;

(4) has committed any gross negligence, incompetence, or misconduct in the practice of Social Work;

(5) has violated one or more of the rules and regulations of the Board.

(b) A license may be suspended for a period not to exceed six (6) months after which time the Board shall revoke or restore the license.

(c) Any person may prefer charges of fraud, deceit, incompetence, gross negligence or misconduct against any licensee. Such charges shall be in writing and shall be sworn to by the person making them and shall be filed with the Board.

(d) All charges, unless dismissed by the Board as unfounded or trivial, shall be heard by the Board within three (3) months after the date on which they shall have been received.

() The time and place for the hearing shall be fixed by the Board and a copy of the charges, together with a notice of the time and place of the hearing, shall be personally served on or sent by registered mail to the last known address of the licensee, at least twenty (20) days before the date fixed for the hearing.

(a) At any hearing, the accused licensee shall have the right to appear personally or by counsel, to cross examine witnesses appearing against him or her, to produce evidence and witnesses in his or her own defense, and, to subpoena witnesses and documents. A record shall be made of all proceedings before the Board.

§3726. Bribery, Fraud, Misrepresentation, and False Statements.

The following shall be Class A misdemeanors:

(a) obtaining or attempting to obtain a license or renewal thereof by bribery or fraudulent representation;

(b) knowingly making a false statement in connection with any application under this Chapter;

(c) knowingly making a false statement on any form promulgated by the Board in accordance with this Chapter or the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

§3727. Applications and References. Applications for licensing shall:

(a) Be on forms prescribed and furnished by the Board.

(b) Contain official transcripts and statements

showing the applicant's education and qualifying experience. Such statements and transcripts shall be vertified by the Board.

§3728. License Renewals.

(a) All licenses shall be effective when issued by the Board.

(b) The license shall expire on a biennially basis as established by the Board.

(c) A license may be renewed by the payment of the renewal fee.

(d) Any renewal after due date may be reinstated by the Board upon the payment of all renewal fees and a registration fee of $10.

() At the time of the license renewal, each applicant shall present satisfactory evidence that in the period since the license was issued, he or she has completed continuing education requirements as developed and specified by the Board.

§3729. Reissuance of Revoked Licenses.

A licensee whose license to practice clinical social work has been revoked may become eligible for a new license after one year from the date of revocation of license, at the discretion of the Board and upon meeting all requirements of this Chapter.

§3730. Appeals.

Any person who feels aggrieved by any action of the Board in denying, failing to renew, suspending, or revoking his or her license to practice clinical social work may appeal therefrom to the Superior Court of the county in which such person resides. The decision of the Board shall be prima facie correct and the burden of proof shall be on the appellant to show that the Board acted contrary to law, fraudulently, arbitrarily, or capriciously. The appellant shall be heard on the records and proceedings of the Board which shall be certified to the court by the Board within fifteen (15) days after service on the Board of a notice of appeal. The Court may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision of the Board and the decision of the Court shall be final.

§3731. Privileged Communications.

No Licensed Clinical Social Worker may disclose any information acquired from persons consulting him or her in a professional capacity except:

(a) with the written consent of the person or persons or, in the case of death or disability, of his/her personal representative, other person authorized to sue, or the beneficiary of an insurance policy on his life, health, or physical condition.

(b) that a licensed Clinical Social Worker shall not be required to treat as confidential a communication that reveals prior commission or the contemplation of any violent crime or harmful act.

(c) when the person is a minor under the laws of the State and the information acquired indicates that the minor was the victim or subject of a crime, the Licensed Clinical Social Worker may be required to testify fully in any examination, trial, or other proceeding in which the commission of such a crime is the subject of inquiry.

(d) when the person waives the privilege by bringing charges against the Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

§3732. Fees.

Board.

(b) All fees under this Chapter are non-refundable and shall be desposited with the State Treasurer.

§3733. Severability Clause.

If any section of this Chapter, or any part thereof, shall be adjudged by any Court of competent jurisdiction, to be invalid, such judgement shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder of any other section or part thereof."

Section 2. This Act shall become effective January 1, 1977.

Approved July 22, 1976