Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Social Work
Regulations Governing the Practice of Social Work [18 VAC 140 ‑ 20]
Action Reduction in CE requirement for supervisors
Stage Fast-Track
Comment Period Ended on 7/24/2019
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7/10/19  1:26 pm
Commenter: Hope and Associates

Reduction of CE requirement for supervisors

I am writing to express my concerns about the Board’s proposal to weaken the training requirements for Social Work Supervisors as outlined in “Reduction of CE requirement for supervisors”.   Reducing the required hours, eliminating the five-year time-frame for training prior to initial registration, along with eliminating the five-year continuing education requirement for Social Work Supervisors would undermine the quality that systems are moving to across the healthcare profession.  The health-care model is heavily focused on patient centered care and Quality Initiatives; however, this proposal reinforces the number of new practitioners only harming the individual’s professional education, but most of all it is putting the population they serve at risk.  


Social Work is a highly dynamic field; the knowledge base of the profession is continually expanding, and the population it serves becoming more complex. Some examples of changes in the last five years alone include:


  • Greater awareness and understanding of the breadth and prominence of issues facing the LBGTQ+ community;
  • New best practices with regard to sensitivities and trauma around issues of race, gender, and sexuality, as well as the ubiquity of sexual harassment and assault;
  • Better understanding of the myriad and often hidden ways that white supremacy and white privilege impact minority populations;
  • A rise in gun ownership and gun violence, posing increased physical risk to clients (through both violence and suicide) and social workers, as well as causing increased anxiety and trauma in communities overall.

It is essential that new social workers bring the most current practices and insights to the challenging dynamics they face daily. Their ability to navigate complex issues and mitigate harm in the midst of real-life situations depends to a large extent on the knowledge and understanding of their supervisor and the quality of guidance they receive. Without a continuing education requirement that is current, a significant subset of supervisors will fall behind the field and their outdated understandings will be carried forward by their supervisees, as well as future social workers.  Raising the requirement for ethics training will not be sufficient, as the changing social work landscape extends far beyond questions of ethics.  


Social Work has fought long and hard to be respected and recognized among other behavioral health science professions.  As is stringently required in professional training for psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and social workers in jurisdictions across the country, best supervision practices and current evidence-based knowledge are requisite for competence in professional practice.   The proposed changes to the Supervisor training requirements will undermine the profession in Virginia, hurting supervisees and their clients; which puts more liability on the supervisor.  Please support social work in our state by withdrawing this proposal.


Rahikya Wilson, MSW, LCSW, LICSW



CommentID: 73374