Clinical Social Work Bill of Rights

The American Board of Clinical Social Work (ABCSW) wrote a Bill of Rights for Clinical Social Workers out of the belief that all clinical social workers, in any stage of professional development, have the right to advocacy and support from the ABCSW, a national organization dedicated solely to your interests.

For Clinical Social Workers

Within the practice arena, all Clinical Social Workers have the right:

  1. To be respected and valued as professionals capable of the highest accomplishments and responsibilities in their job settings;
  2. To be free to practice according to standards consistent with those of the profession of clinical social work;
  3. To receive the same access to federal and state investment in research and training as similar professions enjoy;
  4. To receive financial compensation consistent with their professional training, competence, and activities;
  5. To be protected from discriminatory treatment with respect to financial compensation or career advancement;
  6. To receive continuing education that is subject to standards designed to ensure its relevance and value to the profession; and
  7. To have access to reasonable amounts of social work consultation and supervision as a condition of their employment. 

Within the regulatory arena, all Clinical Social Workers have the right:

  1. To be subject to a state license that recognizes the legality of practicing all key elements of the clinical social work profession;
  2. To practice under state laws under which only clinical social workers are permitted to provide clinical social work services, and under which non-clinical and bachelor’s-level social workers are specifically prohibited from attempting to practice clinical social work, whether or not they are under clinical supervision;
  3. To practice under state laws that clearly identify the scope of practice and responsibilities of clinical social workers in strongly marked contrast to those of non-clinical social workers and other healthcare disciplines;
  4. To be subject to licensure by a state board dedicated to social work regulation whose members consist of clinical social workers in proportion to the other types of social workers who are licensed;
  5. To be given a full and fair hearing and to be judged by their clinical social worker peers in matters of complaint brought to the state licensing board;
  6. To receive reciprocity as licensees when key elements of licensure are similar across state lines;
  7. To practice under state laws that define title protection for clinical social workers; and
  8. To protect the privacy and confidentiality of the relationship with the client, subject to specified ethical and legal exceptions. 

For Entry-level

Clinical Social Workers and Clinical Supervisors:

  1. Entry-level clinical social workers have the right to receive clinical supervision from a competent clinical social worker on-site and at the expense of the employing agency;
  2. Entry-level clinical social workers have the right to receive clinical supervision from experienced clinical social workers who have met specific supervision, education, and training standards;
  3. Clinical social worker supervisees and clinical supervisors have the right to participate in a clearly delineated process for pre-licensure supervision;
  4. Clinical social worker clinical supervisors have the right to be compensated for their services at a rate commensurate with payment for other direct services;
  5. Clinical social workers have the right to practice under state laws and regulations that draw a clear distinction between clinical supervision and clinical consultation. 

For Graduate Students

All students in a graduate school of social work have the right:

  1. To be oriented, at the outset of graduate school, to the nature of the profession of clinical social work;
  2. To be informed about the requirements for pursuing education and training for the profession of clinical social work;
  3. To be encouraged and nurtured in the choice of a clinical social work career;
  4. To receive coursework inculcating social work ethics and values as well as ample instruction in theory, methodology, specific bio-psychosocial knowledge, and skills, that prepare the individual for practice as a clinical social worker;
  5. To receive field placements in direct-service settings with competent clinical supervision by clinical social workers state-licensed at the highest level; and
  6. To be prepared to enter the workforce supplied with specific information about the post-graduate professional career path, including state licensure procedures, job opportunities, available clinical supervision, and access to supportive resources.