Fall 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

Innovation and Regulation –
Oxymoron or Opportunity?

Our Board and Staff believe strongly in the value of regulation and we strive to be innovative in our critical mission of protecting the public through shared goals. There is great opportunity in innovation which does not interfere with effective regulation. These strategies are not mutually exclusive and must be integrated to be successful in our work. I am excited to highlight several examples of board innovation...

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Legislative Feature

BOSW 2020 Legislative Proposal 

Why is the BOSW Proposing Legislative Policy Changes?

The Minnesota Board of Social Work (BOSW) Legislation and Rules Committee, comprised of board members, board staff, and three representatives of the BOSW Advisory Committee, was charged to review each section of the Social Work Practice Act as part of the BOSW 2015-2018 Strategic Plan. The last comprehensive review took place in 2004-2005. 

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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 Graduate Social Worker practicing clinical social work at a community behavioral health clinic. My employer recently received a federal grant that requires the clinic to gather body mass index (BMI) data on all our clients. The Clinic Director has sent us information about the grant and is requiring all healthcare providers, including social workers, to collect a client’s height and weight when we see clients for their appointments. I am very uncomfortable with this and feel it is outside of my scope of practice. I have not received any specific training on how to do this or how to talk to clients about it. Is this within my scope of practice?

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Meet the Board

Who serves on the BOSW?

We are proud to have a diverse, talented, and dedicated group of people serving on the Board!

Our volunteer board members represent a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and areas of Minnesota, whether licensed as social workers or serving as public members.

Of the 15 board members appointed by the Governor, 5 are required to be public members. The remaining 10 members are licensed as social workers, representing all license types and a variety of practice settings including state agencies, county agencies, private agencies, schools, clinical practice, and hospitals or nursing homes. At least 5 members must have expertise in communities of color, and 6 members must reside outside of the 11-county metro area to ensure diverse representation.

In addition, our talented board members serve in leadership positions at the national level with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), helping to shape policy and regulation as board and committee members, committee chairs, and exam item writers.

You can learn more about our current board members and their backgrounds by visiting the Board’s website.

Congratulations to newly elected Board officers!

Board officer elections for the 2020-2021 term beginning in January 2020 were held at the September 13, 2019, public board meeting.

Congratulations to our new officers!

  • Chair – Thomas Brooks, Public Member
  • Vice Chair – Jill Grover, LISW
  • Secretary-Treasurer – Laura McGrath, Public Member

We’d also like to extend a big thank you to our exiting officers, Chair Angie Hirsch, LICSW, Vice Chair Kathy Lombardi, LICSW, and Secretary-Treasurer Jill Grover, LISW. Under their leadership, the BOSW has moved forward on innovative and critical strategic initiatives with measurable outcomes. Thank you for your hard work and dedication!


BOSW Staff Teambuilding

BOSW staff participated in a teambuilding event in June of 2019 to affirm team values and improve staff communication and collaboration. The event was a great success! Board staff are proud to share the team value statement they developed to drive the services they provide to licensees, applicants, and citizens of Minnesota:

 The Board of Social Work team strives to cultivate and maintain a positive and mission-driven culture grounded in respect for diversity, shared values, communication,
and collaboration.

We are committed to
providing high quality services reflecting these values.

Thank you to Board staff for your dedication and service!

Data SnapshotL&R Committee by the Numbers

The Legislation and Rules (L&R) Committee began conducting an in-depth review of the Social Work Practice Act in January 2018. The committee's goal is to ensure relevant regulation and prepare a legislative proposal for the 2020 Legislative Session. 

15 years since last review of Practice Act

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560 hours of committee & staff time

21 sections of statute reviewed

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13 committee members...

...including 3 stakeholder members, 3 public board members, 4 licensed board members, and 3 board staff

Did You Know?

The last comprehensive review of the Social Work Practice Act took place in 2004-2005. Given the substantial changes to the profession and the workforce, the Board identified an in-depth review as a key priority initiative. Here are a few of the goals of the “deep dive” review of the Social Work Practice Act:

• Improving social work license mobility to reduce barriers in the profession and increase access to services for citizens

• Increasing operational efficiencies and reducing costs by changing requirements in law based on obsolete methods that cause delays in processing—for example, did you know the Board is required by law to mail license renewal notices?

• Focusing on plain language and reorganizing sections to simplify and improve readability—for example, consolidating nine continuing education sections down to two

Customer Satisfaction Survey

The Board of Social Work strives to provide high quality customer service to our stakeholders. Click here to take the 2019 Customer Satisfaction survey, available until November 5, 2019. The survey is anonymous and will take about 5 to 10 minutes.  We are seeking feedback about your customer service experience during the past year to assess strengths and possibilities for improvement. Thanks for participating!

Opportunity to Serve

Serve as a BOSW Board Member!

There are three scheduled licensed professional board member vacancies for terms ending January 6, 2020. Apply beginning mid-November at the Secretary of State website. Read the Board Member Vacancy Press Release for more information.

Social Work Licensing

New Video for ASWB Exam Candidates!

The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) has developed a new video outlining the steps for taking the ASWB licensing exam. Check out the video at ASWB's website!