Social Work in Action: April / May 2023

Social Work Interstate Compact Bill is Released

capitol building

NASW welcomed the release of the Social Work Interstate Compact Model Bill in February, which will expand opportunities for social workers to provide services in multiple states.

The Department of Defense in 2021, as part of an initiative to promote license portability for military spouses, recognized the social work profession as a component of health care and community services and funded an initiative to establish model legislation for multistate social work licensing.

“Our nation is contending with a shortage of mental health providers and an interstate compact will allow for practice mobility and remove barriers preventing social workers from providing care in multiple states, especially in areas that are underserved, geographically isolated, or lack specialty care,” said NASW CEO Anthony Estreet, PhD, MBA, MSW, LCSW-C. “The compact will also improve the tedious, time-consuming and expensive process of social workers having to gain licensure in each state where they want to practice.”

Seven states must enact the Model Social Work Compact Bill before the Compact Commission is established. The commission will serve as an administrative body overseeing the Interstate Compact for Social Workers. The Council of State Governments (CSG) oversaw the development of the legislation.

“NASW has been at the table, working tirelessly for over two years, to ensure that the interstate compact design and bill provisions meet the needs of social workers today and into the future,” said Sarah Butts, NASW director of public policy. “NASW negotiated the best compact model bill possible at this time," Estreet said. “We will soon have a compact and much improved practice mobility for social workers.”

Learn more about the Model Social Work Interstate Compact Bill.

Health Care Referral Website Taken Down

laptop with error message

CareDash, the health care referral and review website that had engaged in a potentially deceptive marketing practice impacting social workers nationwide, is no longer in business, thanks in part to efforts by NASW and its members.

CareDash had been posting the profiles of thousands of social workers and other mental health care providers without their consent or knowledge, in order to drive their prospective clients to provider networks that partner with CareDash, including BetterHelp (which, as a result of NASW advocacy, ended its relationship with CareDash).

Prospective clients reviewing the profiles of social workers whom they wanted to see, upon attempting to make an online appointment with that practitioner, were redirected to those other providers.

NASW members notified the association about CareDash’s marketing practice in July, and NASW immediately developed a nationwide legal strategy to combat the issue. NASW met with CareDash’s president, demanding the practice stop immediately; filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission; provided its chapters with guidance on how to engage members to file their own state and federal consumer protection agency complaints; and shared information and strategized with sister therapist associations to increase the impact.

Soon afterward, CareDash eliminated the most egregious aspects of its practice, and earlier this year the company decided to shut its doors.

Legal Challenge to Ohio Law on Abortion Restrictions Dropped

Groups advocating for professional social workers and abortion rights said they have succeeded in forcing a small Ohio city to significantly narrow its ban on conducting or recommending abortions and so have ended their legal challenge, according to an article posted at

The lawsuit by the NASW and the Abortion Fund of Ohio argued that the law, passed in May 2021, represented an “extraordinarily broad” infringement on the constitutional rights of due process and free speech. The groups’ lawyers at the ACLU of Ohio and Democracy Forward further alleged the ban violated Ohio’s home-rule provisions, the article notes. It goes on to say:

The city of Lebanon, in southwest Ohio, opted to revise the law rather than defend it in court. Enforcement had been placed on hold while that work took place.

Opponents said they dropped their lawsuit in January after provisions were removed that made aiding and abetting an abortion a crime, and the law was further clarified to assure that providing transportation, instructions, money or abortion doula services, including counseling, were still allowed.

Lebanon’s ban was one of four that cropped up around Ohio in 2021, part of a national effort to ban abortion “one city at a time” by the Texas-based Sanctuary Cities of the Unborn organization.

cover of April / May 2023 issue

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