State Board of Social Work Examiners: News
- New 2019 Legislation
- Sunset Review Underway
- Mandatory Reporting Reminder
- Changes to Exam Pre-Approval Process
- New Toolkit Available from Colorado Crisis Services
- HB17-1011 Implementation
- New Streamlined Applications
- Important Legislation Signed by Governor
- Peer Assistance Services
On May 31, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed HB19-1129 Prohibit Conversion Therapy for a Minor. The new law goes into effect on August 2,2019, and prohibits a licensed physician specializing in psychiatry or a licensed, certified, or registered mental health care provider from engaging in conversion therapy with a patient under 18 years of age. Any licensee who engages in these practices is subject to disciplinary action by the appropriate mental health licensing board or the Colorado Medical Board, respectively.
On May 6, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed SB 19-201 Open Discussions About Adverse Health Care Incidents. This new law creates the "Colorado Candor Act” and establishes a process for the communication between a patient and a healthcare provider or health facility after an adverse health care incident. Under the new law, if an adverse health care incident occurs, a health care provider involved with the incident, either individually or jointly with the facility involved, may request that the patient enter into an open discussion concerning the incident. The request must include certain components listed in the law.
If an offer of compensation is made, the new law requires certain processes for payment and financial resolution to be followed. If a health care provider or health facility determines that no offer of compensation is warranted, the health care provider or health facility shall orally communicate that decision with the patient.
A health care provider or facility may provide de-identified information about an adverse health care incident to any patient safety centered nonprofit organization.
The Colorado Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform is conducting a sunset review of the Social Work Examiners. Analysis in a sunset review is performed to determine whether the regulatory program is necessary and should be continued, modified or eliminated. This review will produce a report with recommendations to the Colorado General Assembly and result in subsequent legislation based on the recommendations in the report. Your input is an important component of a successful sunset review. If you would like to submit comments online, please visit COPRRR's website.
Did you know you are a mandatory reporter? Under Colorado law, more than 40 professions are required to report suspected child abuse and elder abuse. These professions include many regulated through the Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) at DORA, such as:
- Physicians (including physician assistants and physicians in training);
- Dentists and dental hygienists;
- Nurses (including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners);
- Nursing home administrators;
- Occupational therapists;
- Physical therapists;
- Mental health professionals (including psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, registered psychotherapists and all candidates for licensure);
Online trainings help mandatory reporters recognize and report abuse, neglect and exploitation. Licensees of the regulatory boards at DPO may accrue credit towards continuing education and continuing competency requirements for completing the trainings (should they exist for their profession).
Section 19-3-304, C.R.S. outlines the persons required by law to report child abuse and/or neglect. To assist mandatory reporters, a training is available on the Colorado Department of Human Services website at http://coloradocwts.com/mandated-reporter-training.
Section 18-6.5-108, C.R.S outlines the persons required by law to report abuse and exploitation of at-risk elders and at-risk adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Further information and an online training can be found on the Colorado Department of Human Services website at http://www.coloradoaps.com/about-mandatory-reporting-update.html.
If you have further questions regarding these requirements, please contact the Colorado Department of Human Services.
For questions regarding mandatory reporting of at-risk elders and at-risk adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, please contact the Office of Community Access and Independence’s Division of Aging and Adult Services at email@example.com.
Effective November 1, 2017, the Division of Professions and Occupations (Division) at the Department of Regulatory Agencies will no longer pre-approve candidates for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examinations, except for foreign trained candidates.
Applicants wishing to take the examination should contact ASWB directly and may register for the exam at www.aswb.org/colorado on or after November 1, 2017. Applicants seeking a Colorado social work license must pass the appropriate examination through ASWB before submitting an application for licensure to the Division.
Please send questions to www.aswb.org/about/contact.
Colorado Crisis Services is Colorado’s first statewide resource for mental health, substance use or emotional crisis help, information and referrals. It was formed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services, to strengthen Colorado’s mental health system by providing greater access to mental health services, and ensuring Coloradans get the right services in the right locations at the right time. A new toolkit is available to help the many organizations and mental health professionals that work with Colorado Crisis Services. The toolkit provides links to branding graphics and consistent messaging for public information related to Colorado Crisis Services.
On March 16, 2017, Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 17-1011 Statute of Limitation Discipline Mental Health Professional. The bill went into effect July 1, 2017. Currently, mental health professionals are required to maintain client records for a period of seven years from the date of termination of services. This new state law requires mental health professionals to notify former clients that records may not be maintained after seven years. This notice must be provided to the client in writing no later than 180 days after the end of the client's treatment. The notice may be included with the disclosures provided during the initial client contact or sent to the client's last known address.
In addition, any complaint filed with the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) against a mental health professional alleging a maintenance of records violation must be made within seven years after the former client discovered or reasonably should have discovered the violation. The applicable board in the Division of Professions and Occupations must either take disciplinary action on the complaint or dismiss the complaint within two years.
We hope this clarifies this new requirement pertaining to client records. If you have any questions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are excited to announce several changes that will streamline the application process for new graduates and those who may be applying for additional credentials.
First, the new candidate applications are now online and may be utilized immediately by students that have completed a degree but not yet graduated. These include:
- psychologist candidate (PSYC)
- licensed professional counsel candidate (LPCC)
- marriage and family therapist candidate (MFTC)
- licensed social worker (LSW)
These revised applications reflect the changes due to House Bill 16-1103 Licensure Pathways for Mental Health Workforce. The new law clarifies that graduates must “have completed” their degrees (rather than "hold") in order to fulfill the educational requirements for licensure. This change will expedite the licensure process significantly. Often times, new graduates do not receive, or “hold” their actual degree certificate for many weeks after graduation. As a result, they must wait to apply, even if they have a job offer.
Now, any applicants who are awaiting graduation, but have completed all of their program requirements, may have their school complete the Certification of Master's or Doctoral Education form rather than provide a transcript. Once completed, the form can be uploaded as part of your application.
For LPCC, MFTC and PSYC, there is no test required, so, providing this form and meeting the rest of the qualifications is all that is needed for a candidate permit. LSWs must pass the Association of Social Work Boards Exam. Therefore, applicants who have not graduated, but want to begin accruing hours, can use the Certification of Master's Education form to apply to take the test for licensure.
On April 15, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed House Bill 16-1103 Concerning Clarifying License Pathways for the Mental Health Professional Workforce. Effective January 1, 2017, the new law will affect psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, and any other individual who is actively working toward mental health licensure and is enrolled in a professional training program at an approved school. DORA supported the bill as part of its ongoing initiative to streamline the application process, reduce regulatory burden, and move qualified professionals into the workforce more quickly to increase access to mental health services.
The bill has two key components:
- Clarifies that graduates must “have completed” their degrees (rather than "hold") in order to fulfill the educational requirements for licensure. This change will expedite the licensure process significantly. Often times, new graduates do not receive, or “hold” their actual degree certificate for many weeks after graduation. As a result, they must wait to apply, even if they have a job offer. With this change, applications can be submitted with an unofficial transcript or a letter from the academic program as soon as an applicant completes a graduate program.
- Clarifies the recommended pathway a student should take for licensure in Colorado. For instance, the legislation clarifies that students participating in internships do not need to register with DORA as registered psychotherapists. However, as soon as they hold their degree, they are encouraged to register as a candidate under the board that will govern their licensure. This type of clarification helps simplify the process and reduces the regulatory burden on students.
In order to implement the new law, the Mental Health Boards housed at DORA’s Division of Professions and Occupations will assess whether rulemaking is necessary. If so, the Boards will hold Stakeholder Meetings and Rulemaking Hearings during the Summer and Fall of 2016. Mental health professionals who want to follow the implementation process should check their respective Board websites for updated information beginning June 1, 2016.
The Colorado Mental Health Boards have been authorized to contract with Peer Assistance Services, Inc. for the Mental Health Professional Peer Health Assistance Program. This program is available to all licensed/certified/registered Colorado mental health professionals who have physical, emotional, or psychological conditions. Program services include practice and treatment monitoring, identification and evaluation of conditions, counseling and support for treatment, and prevention education. These program services are funded for Colorado mental health professionals through a portion of licensing fees. For more information visit Peer Assistance Services website.