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Searching 2018 Special Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 26: Professions and Occupations

Chapter 061: SOCIAL WORKERS

  • § 3201. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) "Clinical social work" is a specialty practice of social work within the practice of master's social work and requires the application of social work theory, knowledge, methods, ethics, and the professional use of self to restore or enhance social, psychosocial, or biopsychosocial functioning of individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities.

    (A) The practice of clinical social work requires the application of specialized clinical knowledge and advanced clinical skills in the areas of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, conditions, and addictions.

    (B) Treatment methods include the provision of individual, marital, couple, family and group counseling, and psychotherapy, which may occur in diverse settings.

    (C) The practice of clinical social work may include private practice and the provision of clinical supervision.

    (D) Licensed independent clinical social workers are qualified to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), and other diagnostic classification systems used in diagnosis and other activities.

    (2) "Director" means the Director of the Office of Professional Regulation.

    (3) "Licensed independent clinical social worker" means a person licensed under this chapter to practice clinical social work.

    (4) "Licensed master's social worker" is a person licensed under this chapter to practice master's social work. Psychotherapy is not within the scope of practice of a "licensed master's social worker." The practice of a licensed master's social worker engaged in supervised practice toward licensure as a licensed independent clinical social worker may include the practices reserved for licensed independent clinical social workers.

    (5) "Master's social work" means the application of social work theory, knowledge, methods, and ethics, and the professional use of self to restore or enhance social, psychosocial, or biopsychosocial functioning of individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

    (A) Master's social work practice includes the application of specialized knowledge and advanced practice skills in the areas of assessment, treatment planning, implementation and evaluation, case management, information and referral, supportive counseling, supervision, consultation, education, research, advocacy, community organization, and the development, implementation, and administration of policies, programs, and activities.

    (B) Under supervision as provided in this chapter, the practice of master's social work may include the practices reserved for clinical social workers.

    (6) "Office" means the Office of Professional Regulation.

    (7) "Psychotherapy" means the provision of treatment, diagnosis, evaluation, or counseling services to individuals or groups, for a consideration, for the purpose of alleviating mental disorders.

    (A) "Psychotherapy" involves the application of therapeutic techniques to understand unconscious or conscious motivation, resolve emotional, relationship, or attitudinal conflicts, or modify behavior that interferes with effective emotional, social, or mental functioning.

    (B) "Psychotherapy" follows a systematic procedure of psychotherapeutic intervention that takes place on a regular basis over a period of time, or, in the case of evaluation and brief psychotherapies, in a single or limited number of interventions.

    (C) If a person is employed by or under contract with the Agency of Human Services, this definition does not apply to persons with less than a master's degree, to persons providing life skills training or instruction, such as learning to make friends, to handle social situations, to do laundry, and to develop community awareness, or interactions of employees or contracted individuals with clients whose job description or contract specifications do not specifically mention "psychotherapy" as a job responsibility or duty. (Added 1985, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1993, No. 98, § 20; 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1997, No. 40, § 49; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 53; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3202. Prohibition; offenses

    (a) A person shall not practice or attempt to practice licensed independent clinical social work or licensed master's social work, nor shall any person use in connection with the person's name any letters, words, or insignia indicating or implying that the person is a licensed independent clinical social worker or a licensed master's social worker unless the person is licensed in accordance with this chapter.

    (b) A person who violates any of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to the penalties provided in 3 V.S.A. § 127.

    (c) A State agency or a subdivision or contractor thereof shall not use or permit the use of the title "social worker" other than in relation to an employee holding a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from an accredited school or program of social work. (Added 1985, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1993, No. 98, § 21, 2007, No. 29, § 41; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017; 2015, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 17, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3203. Director duties

    (a) The Director shall:

    (1) explain appeal procedures to licensees and applicants and complaint procedures to the public;

    (2) administer fees collected under this chapter;

    (3) provide general information to applicants for licensure as licensed independent clinical social workers and licensed master's social workers;

    (4) receive applications for licensing, license applicants qualified under this chapter, or renew, revoke, reinstate, and condition licenses as ordered by an administrative law officer; and

    (5) adopt by rule criteria for licensing independent clinical social workers and licensed master's social workers who have five years' licensed or certified practice experience in another jurisdiction of the United States or Canada.

    (b) The Director, with the advice of two licensed social workers appointed under section 3204 of this chapter, may adopt rules necessary to enable the Director to perform his or her duties under subsection (a) of this section. (Added 1985, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.) § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 73; 1993, No. 98, § 22; 1997, No. 40, § 49(a); 2005, No. 27, § 91; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017; 2015, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 84.)

  • § 3204. Advisor appointees

    (a) The Secretary of State shall appoint two individuals licensed under this chapter to serve as advisors in matters relating to licensed social workers. They shall be appointed as set forth in 3 V.S.A. § 129b and shall serve at the pleasure of the Secretary. One of the initial appointments may be for less than a full term.

    (b) Appointees shall not have less than three years' licensed experience as a social worker and be in active practice in Vermont during incumbency.

    (c) The Director shall refer complaints and disciplinary matters to an administrative law officer established under 3 V.S.A. § 129(j).

    (d) The Director shall seek the advice of the advisors appointed under this section in carrying out the provisions of this chapter. Such members shall be entitled to compensation and expenses as provided in 32 V.S.A. § 1010 for attendance at any meeting called by the Director for this purpose. (Added 1985, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 74; 1993, No. 98, §§ 23, 24; 1997, No. 40, § 49(a); 2007, No. 29, § 42; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3205. Licensed master's social worker eligibility

    To be eligible for licensing as a licensed master's social worker, an applicant must have:

    (1) received a master's degree or doctoral degree from an accredited social work education program; and

    (2) within five years prior to applying for licensure, passed the examinations designated by the Director. (Added 1985, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1993, No. 98, § 25; 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 5a; 1997, No. 40, § 35; 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 35; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 54; 2013, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 25; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3205a. Licensed independent clinical social worker eligibility

    (a) To be eligible for licensure as a licensed independent clinical social worker, an applicant must have:

    (1) received a master's degree or doctoral degree from an accredited social work education program;

    (2) passed the examinations designated by the Director within five years prior to applying for licensure; and

    (3) completed 3,000 hours of supervised practice of independent clinical social work as defined by rule under the supervision of a:

    (A) licensed independent clinical social worker;

    (B) licensed clinical mental health counselor;

    (C) licensed psychologist;

    (D) licensed physician or a licensed osteopathic physician who has completed a residency in psychiatry; or

    (E) person licensed or certified in another state or Canada in one of these professions or their substantial equivalent.

    (b) A person not licensed as a master's social worker who engages in post-master's supervised practice in Vermont toward licensure as a licensed independent clinical social worker shall be entered on the roster of nonlicensed, noncertified psychotherapists.

    (c) A licensed master's social worker who engages in post-master's supervised practice in Vermont to become a licensed independent clinical social worker must first register with the Office as set forth by rule. (Added 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3206. Application

    A person who desires to be licensed under this chapter shall apply using an application form available from the Office, accompanied by payment of the specified fee. (Added 1985, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(d); 1993, No. 98, § 26; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3207. Examinations

    The Director may contract with independent testing services for the preparation and administration of examinations. (Added 1985, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 4(d), 75; 1993, No. 98, § 27; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3208. Renewals

    (a) Licenses shall be renewed every two years on a schedule determined by the Office upon payment of the required fee.

    (b) An application for reinstatement of a license that has expired shall be accompanied by the renewal fee in addition to other fees set forth in 3 V.S.A. chapter 5. A person shall not be required to pay renewal fees for the years during which the license was lapsed.

    (c) [Repealed.]

    (d) As a condition of renewal, a licensee shall complete continuing education, approved by the Director by rule, during the preceding two-year period. For purposes of this subsection, the Director may require, by rule, not more than 20 hours of approved continuing social work education as a condition of renewal.

    (e) The Director may prescribe, by rule, reinstatement standards for persons wishing to resume practice after five years since holding an active license. (Added 1985, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(d); 1993, No. 98, § 28; 1999, No. 52, § 28; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3209. Licensure by endorsement

    The Director may, upon payment of the required fee, grant a license without examination if:

    (1) the applicant holds an active license to practice licensed master's social work or licensed independent clinical social work in another U.S. or Canadian jurisdiction; and

    (2) the requirements for licensing in that jurisdiction are, in the judgment of the Director, substantially equivalent to the requirements of this chapter. (Added 1985, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(d); 1993, No. 98, § 29; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3210. Unprofessional conduct

    (a) The following conduct and the conduct set forth in 3 V.S.A. § 129a by a person licensed under this chapter constitutes unprofessional conduct. When that conduct is by an applicant or a person who later becomes an applicant, it may constitute grounds for denial or discipline of a license:

    (1) failing to use a correct title in professional activity;

    (2) conduct that evidences unfitness to practice licensed master's or licensed independent clinical social work;

    (3) engaging in any sexual conduct with a client, or with the immediate family member of a client, with whom the licensee has had a professional relationship within the previous two years;

    (4) harassing, intimidating, or abusing a client or patient;

    (5) practicing outside or beyond a licensee's education, training, experience, or competence;

    (6) having a conflict of interest that interferes with the exercise of the licensee's professional responsibilities, discretion, and impartial judgment;

    (7) failing to inform a client when a real or potential conflict of interest arises and failing to take reasonable steps to resolve the issue in a manner that makes the client's interest primary and protects the client's interest to the greatest extent possible;

    (8) taking unfair advantage of any professional relationship or exploiting others to further the licensee's personal, religious, political, or business interests;

    (9) engaging in dual or multiple relationships with a client or former client in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client;

    (10) failing to take steps to protect a client and to set clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries, in instances where dual or multiple relationships are unavoidable;

    (11) failing to clarify with all parties which individuals will be considered clients and the nature of the licensee's professional obligations to the various individuals who are receiving services, when a licensee provides services to two or more people who have a spousal, familial, or other relationship with each other;

    (12) failing to clarify the licensee's role with the parties involved and to take appropriate action to minimize any conflicts of interest, when the clinical social worker anticipates a conflict of interest among the individuals receiving services or anticipates having to perform in conflicting roles such as testifying in a child custody dispute or divorce proceedings involving clients; or

    (13) using conversion therapy as defined in 18 V.S.A. § 8351 on a client younger than 18 years of age.

    (b) After hearing, and upon a finding of unprofessional conduct, an administrative hearing officer may take disciplinary action against a licensee or applicant. (Added 1985, No. 253 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(b); 1993, No. 98, § 30; 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1997, No. 40, § 36; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 52; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 29; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017; 2015, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3211. Repealed. 1997, No. 59, § 65(3), eff. June 30, 1997.

  • § 3212. Exemptions

    (a) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to persons while engaged in the course of their customary duties as clergy, licensed physicians, nurses, osteopaths, optometrists, dentists, lawyers, psychologists, mental health counselors, certified marriage and family therapists and psychoanalysts, rostered psychotherapists, or licensed educators when performing their duties consistent with the accepted standards of their respective professions; provided, however, that they do not describe themselves to the public by any other title or description stating or implying that they are licensed master's social workers or licensed independent clinical social workers under this chapter.

    (b) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to persons while engaged in the course of their customary duties:

    (1) In the practice of a religious ministry.

    (2) In employment or rehabilitation counseling.

    (3) As an employee of or under contract with the Agency of Human Services, provided the person does not practice psychotherapy as defined in section 3201 of this title.

    (4) As a mediator.

    (5) In an official evaluation for court purposes.

    (6) As a member of a self-help group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, peer counseling, or domestic violence groups, whether or not the person is serving for a consideration.

    (7) As a respite caregiver, foster care worker, or hospice worker.

    (c) [Repealed.]  (Added 1993, No. 98, § 32; amended 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 1995, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 20; 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017.)

  • § 3212a. Exceptions

    (a) This chapter shall not apply to a person engaged or acting:

    (1) In the discharge of his or her duties as a student of clinical social work or preparing for the practice of clinical social work provided that the person's title indicates his or her training status and that the preparation occurs under the supervision of a licensed practicing clinical social worker in recognized training institutions or facilities or in a training program approved by the Office of Professional Regulation.

    (2) In clinical training for licensure as a psychologist or clinical mental health counselor or for certification as a marriage and family therapist or a psychoanalyst provided that the person's title indicates his or her training status and that the person does not identify him or herself as a clinical social worker.

    (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, this chapter shall apply to any person licensed as a clinical social worker under this chapter. (Added 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 7a; amended 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 21.)

  • § 3213. Disclosure of information

    (a) The Director, in consultation with the advisor appointees, shall adopt rules requiring licensees to disclose to each client the licensee's professional qualifications and experience, those actions that constitute unprofessional conduct, the method for filing a complaint or making a consumer inquiry, and provisions relating to the manner in which the information shall be displayed and signed by both the licensee and the client. The rules may include provisions for applying or modifying these requirements in cases involving institutionalized clients, minors, and adults under the supervision of a guardian.

    (b) A licensed master's social worker employed by an agency that provides each client disclosure information equivalent to that described in subsection (a) of this section meets this section's disclosure requirements. (Added 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; amended 2015, No. 38, § 31, eff. July 1, 2017.)