An Overview of ABE
The American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work (ABE), founded in 1987, is a national credentialing organization, created by and for the profession of clinical social work. ABE's main purpose is to issue the Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (BCD) credential to advanced clinical social workers who wish to be recognized for their education, training, and experience in providing ethical and effective mental health care.
ABE's BCD credential is now held by 11,000-plus clinical social workers, a subset of the 140,000-plus licensed clinical social workers who are the nation's majority provider of mental-emotional health services. Advanced clinical social workers are graduate-school educated, trained under close supervision, and state-licensed to assess, diagnose, and treat bio-psycho-social problems.
ABE conducts outreach to payor systems, the public, and the mental healthcare profession on behalf of its BCD certificants and all advanced clinical social workers. This outreach, conducted as a national marketing effort since 1990, includes representing clinical social work at conferences of the healthcare industry, educating service-users, distributing ABE's information products and services, and intervening with payor/user systems that discriminate against clinical social workers. ABE also advocates for quality clinical education, interacts with professional and regulatory associations, and occasionally lobbies at the federal level and works with colleague organizations to present friend-of-the-court briefs in legal cases involving matters of concern to the profession. ABE also produces position papers on standards-related topics.
From the start, ABE has worked to strengthen the importance of high standards in clinical social work and to advocate for their recognition in the profession and the marketplace. (All rights reserved.)