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Kansas Becomes Seventh State to Enact the Social Work Licensure Compact, Triggering Implementation of Multistate Licensure for Social Workers

Along with legislation previously enacted in Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Washington, the Compact now has the seven states required to stand up a Commission

With the signing of the Social Work Licensure Compact legislation by Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, Kansas becomes the seventh state to enact the Social Work Licensure Compact. Kansas joins Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Washington as a founding state for this new interstate compact.

“Developing and passing the Compact has been a multiyear process,” says Jennifer Henkel, MSSW, LCSW, senior director of member engagement and regulatory affairs with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). “The extensive cooperation across the social work profession is an indicator of how important this Compact will be for social workers and the clients they serve.”

The Compact was developed through a cooperative effort among social work organizations, led by ASWB and the Council of State Governments (CSG). Creation of the Compact legislation was funded by a grant from the United States Department of Defense. Finalized in February 2023, legislation for the Social Work Licensure Compact was introduced in several states during the 2023 sessions, with Missouri becoming the first state to pass and enact the legislation in July 2023.

Over the next several months, the seven founding member states will nominate delegates to the Social Work Licensure Compact Commission. If additional states enact the legislation during this time, they can also appoint founding delegates to the Compact Commission.

“Forming the Compact Commission is a critical step in getting the Compact up and running, but there is a lot of work that will need to be done before multistate licenses will be available,” says CSG’s Deputy Policy Director Matthew Shafer. “CSG will continue working with states who join the Compact and stakeholders in the social work profession to develop processes, policies, and systems to ensure that social workers have professional mobility without compromising the safety and quality of their practice.”

The Compact Commission will convene in late 2024 to draft its rules and bylaws. The Commission will oversee operations of the Compact and develop the data systems necessary to support multistate licensure.

“Standing up the Compact marks a major milestone for our profession toward meeting the needs of a rapidly changing, increasingly mobile world,” says ASWB CEO Stacey Hardy-Chandler, PhD, JD, LCSW, PGDip. “The key benefit to us all is access—increasing people's access to social workers and expanding social workers' access to broader communities.”

For more information about the Social Work Licensure Compact, including a map of states where legislation is currently pending, visit https://swcompact.org/.

Source: Association of Social Work Boards