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About the Board

What is the Board?

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The Legislature established the Board in 1987. By law, the Board is an independent state regulatory board that performs the duties necessary to promote and protect the public health, safety, and welfare through the licensure and regulation of persons who practice social work in this state. The Board ensures that social workers are qualified, professional, ethical, and accountable through the examination and licensure process and, on an ongoing basis, by license renewal: continuing education: supervision requirements and through the complaint resolution process when professional standards are not met. The Board is entirely fee supported and receives no General Fund dollars. The Board collects fees which are deposited as non-dedicated revenue into the State Government Special Revenue Fund (SGSRF) to cover both direct and indirect expenditures.
BOSW Mission
The BOSW Mission is "protecting the public through licensing and regulation of the social work profession."
BOSW Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Vision and Values Statement
The BOSW DEI Vision and Values Statement is that the Board "supports the State of Minnesota's commitment to the core values of equity and inclusion into our work. The Board, as a state regulatory agency, guided by a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion, commits to actively examine and address systemic inequities in policy and practice and work to reduce unnecessary barriers to social work licensing, while maintaining standards to ensure our mission of protecting the public. Board members and staff value partnerships and commit to continued work with all stakeholders to ensure diversity in the workforce, while licensing qualified, professional, ethical, and accountable social workers."
Critical Public Safety Services
The BOSW public safety mission creates the foundation for the Board's work. Core services provided include:
  • licensing qualified social workers

  • investigating and resolving complaints about applicants for licensure, individuals licensed by the Board, and individuals practicing social work without a license

  • providing outreach and education

The BOSW is guided by its Strategic Framework in identifying outcome-based priorities and results and promoting efficient and accountable services as we work collaboratively with state and federal agencies to monitor state, national and international issues, and respond effectively to emerging social work practice, and regulatory issues. Fifteen volunteer Board Members, including five public and ten licensed members, provide oversight to make certain we meet the needs of all citizens and promote a diverse, inclusive, and qualified workforce. Board staff provide services to citizens, over 17,000 licensees, applicants, employers, educators, and other stakeholders daily. The demand for our services has grown due to significant increases in the number of applicants, licensees, and complaints. 
When a License Is Required
Licensure is required by persons who use the title of "social work" or "social worker" and provide social work services based on their social work degree. A license may be required even if the employer does not require a license, the job does not require client contact, or the job title is not "social worker". Licensure is voluntary and not required under current Minnesota law for persons employed by a county or federally recognized tribe under Minnesota Statutes section 148E.065
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