February 14, 2023 Update on the Social Work Interstate Compact

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) supports changes to the Model Social Work Interstate Compact Bill under development following the convening of partnering organizations with the Council of State Governments (CSG) last week.

NASW representatives left the meeting in good faith after collaboratively working with the Technical Assistance Group to craft the final draft of the compact legislation and are awaiting the final language modifications to confirm and validate the Association’s position related to the release of the Model Social Work Interstate Compact legislation. Based upon NASW representees’ feedback, the Association anticipates the following significant highlights to be part of the final draft, which will enhance the interest of our members and the social work profession at large:

    • Increased flexibilities for states that may remove requirements for BSW and/or MSW Examinations to still allow social workers within their jurisdictions access to the Social Work Compact.
    • Increased number of Ex-Officio Seats on the Social Work Interstate Compact Commission that will support increased stakeholder representation by partnering organizations as part of the governing body.
    • The Commission will hold the authority to consider and adapt to alternative methods of measuring competency (in lieu of the use of an examination if so indicated).

According to a statement released by CSG after the meeting last week, the Model Social Work Compact Bill will be finalized and ready for state enactment by February 27, 2023. Seven states must enact the Model Social Work Compact Bill in its entirety before the Compact Commission and infrastructure necessary to implement it can be put in place.

“NASW negotiated the best compact model bill possible at this time. We had to balance the reality of the current regulatory landscape, the need for multi-state licensure, and the trend that many states may soon change their assessment of competency measures for social workers with some eliminating entry-level BSW and MSW exams.” — Anthony Estreet, PhD, MBA, LCSW-C

Though we don’t have the final Model Social Work Compact Bill in hand, we look forward to seeing the final legislation in the coming weeks and will plan to assist social workers with understanding what it means related to their practice and social work regulation across the country. In preparation for all the exciting changes that are on the forefront, NASW is preparing resources that will aid state chapters by offering technical assistance to address compact-related issues and will continue to provide updates as available and/or appropriate.