Spring 2019 Board Bulletin

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Minnesota Board of Social Work

Protecting the Public


Board Bulletin | Minnesota Board of Social Work Newsletter

Message from the Executive Director

The 2019 Legislative Session has had many twists and turns including a Special Session ending on May 25. Special Session was necessary to consider and pass the State’s biennial budget, including the BOSW budget for July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021, which was the focus of the session. Successes and highlights of this session included new and increased partnerships and collaboration with Legislators, Legislative Staff, and BOSW stakeholders.

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2019 Legislative Feature

Proposed Budget & Fee Change Update:

State Budget Bills Passed in Special Session—Awaiting Governor's Signature

While the BOSW understands that no one likes to see costs increase, we would not have proposed a fee change if the need were not critical. The proposed budget includes investments to provide the necessary resources to maintain current core public safety services, ensure fiscal stability, and create strategic investments to improve our effectiveness, and ensure efficient and accountable services to all those we serve.

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BOSW Duty to Warn Legislation Amended

Why Did a Change Occur and What Has Changed?

The MN Coalition of Licensed Social Workers was successful in championing changes to the Duty to Warn (DTW) reporting requirement for licensed social workers during the 2019 Legislative Session. SF955/HF2206, including BOSW DTW changes, was signed by the Governor on May 17, 2019, and is effective immediately. While the BOSW was neutral on the proposed legislation, the BOSW collaborated with stakeholders on the proposal.

To date, the social work requirement to comply with the DTW (Minnesota Statutes section 148.975) only applied to “licensees.” Under the new law, “licensees, social work students and interns” are required to comply with the DTW and are provided immunity if a duty to warn is made. 

Compliance Toolkit

The Compliance Toolkit is a regular feature of the Board Bulletin that will provide you with tools for handling common ethical dilemmas and issues related to the Standards of Practice found in the Minnesota Social Work Practice Act. Consider the following scenario:

I am a licensed social worker working as a case manager. My coworker, who is also licensed with the Board of Social Work, recently experienced the death of a close family member. My coworker initially took a few days off but has now returned to work. The coworker confided in me that they are not ready to be back at work but worries about their clients and coworkers if they take more time away. I have also noticed some unusual changes in the coworker’s behavior including arriving late to work and outbursts of anger, and their case notes are difficult to understand. I am concerned about my coworker’s practice and clients, but I don’t want to get anyone in trouble. What can I do?

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Partnering with ASWB

Minnesota Representatives Elected to the ASWB Board of Directors

Congratulations to Ken Middlebrooks, Public Board Member, and Kate Zacher-Pate, LSW, Executive Director, as newly elected members of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Board of Directors!

Newly elected members of the 2019 ASWB Board of Directors

Newly elected members of the Board of Directors are, from left: Lisa Crockwell (NL), Roxroy Reid (NM), Kate Zacher-Pate (MN), Harold Dean (AR), Ken Middlebrooks (MN), and Deborah Jones (BC).

ASWB's Board of Directors serves as the governance body of the association. Serving on the board provides exciting opportunities for the BOSW to work with ASWB and other social work licensing regulators across the US and Canada on important strategic initiatives like license mobility. 

Ken Middlebrooks was appointed to the Minnesota Board of Social Work as a public board member in 2003 and is currently serving his fourth consecutive term. Ken has been involved with ASWB since his appointment to the BOSW, serving on a wide variety of ASWB task forces and committees. In 2013, Ken was awarded the ASWB Sunny Andrews Award for Outstanding Commitment to Social Work Regulatory Service.

Kate Zacher-Pate, LSW, Executive Director with the BOSW for the last 11 years, has worked as a social work regulator for 27 years. Kate has been active in ASWB in a Board Staff capacity representing Minnesota since the 1990s, and has served in several ASWB leadership roles, on various committees, and received the Board Administrator Award for Outstanding Regulatory Board Service in 2009.

Congratulations to Ken and Kate and thank you for your dedication and service!

Data SnapshotBoard of Social Work by the Numbers
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11 current Board staff

with 101 combined
years of service

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working to serve the citizens of Minnesota, including


current social work licensees

Already in 2019, the Board has received...

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1,066 applications for licensure

for renewal

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Supervision Form Icon

879 Supervision
Plan forms

1,432 Supervision
Verification forms

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130 complaints

Did You Know?

Board staff are dedicated to serving the citizens of Minnesota and upholding the Board's mission of protecting the public. Here are just a few examples of the important work Board staff accomplish every day:

• Responding to questions about social work regulations, ethical dilemmas, and licensure from licensees, applicants, and members of the public

• Providing education and outreach through expanded communication strategies, updates to the website, and presentations to graduating social work students on professional license requirements

• Ensuring that residents of Minnesota have access to quality social work services by investigating and resolving complaints

Top Ten Tips

Spring is here with a new crop of enthusiastic social work graduates ready to apply their skills in the field.  Check out the Board's Top Ten Temporary License Tips for Students for important information about temporary licenses for graduating students. 

Committee News

The Board's 2015-2018 Strategic Plan identified an in-depth review of the Social Work Practice Act as a key priority initiative. The Legislation and Rules (L&R) Committee convened in January of 2018 to begin this work. The L&R Committee is comprised of Board members, Board staff, and three representatives from the Board's Advisory Committee, creating an opportunity for stakeholder input throughout the process.

Committee Action to Date:

• Reviewing Minnesota Statutes Chapters 148E and 148D with a focus on relevant regulation, plain language, licensure mobility, and technology standards

Ten draft sections of statute had preliminary approval at the March 15, 2019, public board meeting

• Reviewing mobility and licensure requirements in Minnesota Statutes section 148E.055

To offer comments, you may submit written comments to social.work@state.mn.us.