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Georgia Social Work Licensure Update

 

Please note the following update regarding the Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists proposed new Chapter 135-12 (Testing and Assessment) and proposed new Rule 135-12-.01 (Testing and Assessments).

 

 The Composite Board DID NOT vote to advertise Rule 135-12-01 for public comment at the March 10, 2017 Composite Board meeting.  

 

NASWGA Chapter suggests that our members

  1. delay taking any post-graduate psychopathology type course until this Rule is passed by Composite Board; AND 
  2. wait for email from NASWGA Chapter office which will offer a full explanation of the Rule and how it will or will not impact your scope of practice

Note:  The President of NASW Georgia Chapter Board of Directors, Karen Starks, was in attendance at the monthly Composite Board meeting on March 10, 2017.  She inquired if Rule 135-12-01 had been reviewed by the Attorney General's office and learned that it had not.  To that end, here are the steps to the Rule approval process going forward:

  • The Attorney General (AG) has to review and approve the Rule, then send it back to Composite Board for a vote - this may not happen until next Composite Board meeting on 4/7/17.
  • After receiving the approved Rule from the AG, the Composite Board members will vote to allow for public comment
  • The Composite Board will then send out a statewide notice indicating the due date for written and public comment on the Rule.  NASWGA will provide both written and public comment on behalf of our membership.
  • After receiving the written and public comments, the Composite Board Joint Rules committee will incorporate this information and send the revised Rule to the full Board
  • It is unclear at this time if the revised Rule will have to go back to the AG

Whenever the final vote occurs, NASWGA will provide our membership with a full explanation of the Rule and how it will impact our scope of practice.

 

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The Composite Board met on June 2, 2017. The following is a brief summary of discussion about the Psychopathology Course Requirement:

 

 The Governor has not signed Rule 135-12.01 Testing and Assessment or 135.12.02 Diagnosing.  He has 90 days to either sign, make changes or not sign the proposed Rules. This means he has until early August to make his decision.

 If the Governor signs the Rules, the Composite Board may still have to make Amendments to the Rules. Therefore, it will be another few weeks after the Governor signs it before it is approved and put into place by Composite Board - which may be sometime in September.

 

 Because the Governor has not signed it and it is still unclear if he will sign it, WHO has to take the psychopathology course is still in question.

 

Right now as written LCSW are required, but LMSW may also be required to take the course.

 

NASW Georgia Chapter will be amending our FAQ regarding Rule 135-12.01 Testing and Assessment or 135.12.02 Diagnosing which was sent out to our members to include the information that LMSW may have to take the required psychopathology course.

 

The Composite Board said not to begin taking a psychopathology courses as defined in the proposed Rules until the Governor signs the Rules and any necessary Amendments are completed by the Composite Board.

 

 

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UPDATE RULE 135.12.02 DIAGNOSING & PSYCHOPATHOLOGY COURSE!

 

Chapter leadership attended the Georgia Composite Board of Professional Social Workers, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapist meeting held on July 14, 2017.  The Board still has not received a response from the governor in regards to Proposed New Rules 135.12.01 Testing and Assessment 135.12.02 Diagnosing. As a result, there has not been an approval for moving forward with implementing a Psychopathology Course.  In other words, DO NOT sign up to take a course or pay any provider to take a Psychopathology Course. Why do we recommend that you do not sign up to take a Psychopathology Course  already being offered or pay for a scheduled course? The Composite Board will still have an opportunity to amend the rules once signed by the governor  which means how a Psychopathology Course is developed may need to be amended. Also, the governor can make suggestions for amending the rules leading to a changes in the rules as and the re-structuring of an existing Psychopathology Course. Furthermore, until the rule is reviewed and approved by the governor, it remains unclear regarding who will need to take the course.  

 

Consequently, the NASWGA asks that you be patient and wait to hear from the chapter’s leadership about the new rules as well as the Psychopathology Course. We will keep you informed!  If you still have questions or concerns about Proposed New Rules 135-12.-01 Testing and Assessment and 135.12.02 Diagnosing or the pending Psychopathology Course, please forward them to exec.naswga@socialworkers.org.

 

 

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The proposed Testing and Assessments Chapter/Rule can also be found on the Secretary of State’s web site at http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/43/composite_board_proposed_rules.

 

 

Please note: The adoption of this new rule chapter and rule will impact every licensee within their scope of practice, in the same manner, and that each licensee is independently licensed in the field of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists.

 

 

As reference, please review information on Senate Bill 319 (SB319), which was passed during the 2015-2016 Georgia General Assembly legislative session, on the Georgia General Assembly web site at http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20152016/161852.pdf (excerpts provided below):

 

 

To amend Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to professions and businesses…to clarify that persons licensed as professional counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists are not authorized to conduct psychological testing… to provide for a curriculum of continuing education relating to diagnosing…to clarify that psychological testing is part of the practice of psychology; to provide that certain licensed persons are able to perform certain tests other than psychological testing…”

 

 

“The General Assembly… authorized  the Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists to fulfill these responsibilities… to assure a continuum of professional services that ensure appropriate diagnostic and assessment functions for each profession and the psychotherapeutic and counseling treatment services appropriate to each profession.”