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About the Board

What is the Board?

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The Legislature established the Board in 1987, and by law, it exists to perform 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 the state. The Board is an independent state agency. The Board of Social Work holds social workers accountable by ensuring that licensed social workers are qualified, professional, ethical, and accountable. It does this initially through the examination and licensure process and, on an ongoing basis, by license renewal: continuing education: supervision requirements to ensure continued competence: and through the complaint resolution process when professional standards are not met.

The Board has statutory authority to determine whether a person in a specific position is engaged in social work practice, thereby requiring licensure, even if an employer does not require social work licensure for a position. Licensure is required by persons who use the title of social work or social worker, provide social work services in a position for which the educational basis is the individuals degree in social work, or practice in a position, under licensing supervision, which has been approved and applied to a licensing requirement. If you are unsure whether a license is required in a specific position, contact the Board for a determination.

Staff and volunteer Board Members currently serve members of the public, 16,000+ licensees, applicants, employers, credentialing entities, academic programs, and state and federal entities. The Board is entirely fee supported and receives no General Fund dollars. It must collect fees to cover both direct and indirect expenditures, which are deposited as non-dedicated revenue into the State Government Special Revenue Fund (SGSRF).

Effective public safety outcomes and efficient government services are accomplished through: licensing qualified professionals; resolving complaints in a fair and timely manner; promoting a diverse and qualified workforce; providing outreach and education to stakeholders; maximizing technology for enhanced security and to better serve stakeholders and customers; and reducing fees by 30% since 2006. The Board partners collaboratively with the 17 Health Licensing Boards and its Administrative Services Unit, MN Management and Budget, MN Department of Health and Human Services, Legislators, the Governors Office, other state and federal regulatory entities, its Advisory Committee, and its stakeholder groups.

Through its regular Strategic Planning, the Board identifies strategic objectives and measures quantitative and qualitative performance outcomes. License applications have increased by 43%, and licenses granted have increased by 25%, in the last 10 years. Disciplinary or corrective action reduces the likelihood of future violations and unethical practice from licensees. Based on 91 actions taken in 2002- 2011, there is a recidivism rate of 2.2%.
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