State Board of Social Work Examiners: News


Stakeholder Meeting - June 15

The State Mental Health Boards will convene a stakeholder meeting to collect input on the need for a broad set of potential revisions to the Mental Health Boards’ rules. Attendees can provide information on any rule that may be creating unnecessary barriers or frustration in the mental health community. Specific topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to: licensure by examination, record retention, continued competency, reporting requirements for contact information, and other reporting requirements related to criminal convictions or other violations of the Mental Health Practice Acts. No changes have been drafted, and all comments and ideas are welcome.

Stakeholder input is crucial to achieving the Department’s missions of consumer protection and effective licensure and enforcement, without unnecessary impediment to the economic market. Please make yourselves heard by joining us at the upcoming stakeholder meeting.

Meeting Information

Three Ways to Participate

  1. In Person: Civic Center Plaza, 1560 Broadway, 19th Floor Conference Room, Denver, CO 80202.
  2. By Webinar: Register at the following link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2906308690024151811
  3. By Written Comment: Provide written comments in advance or after the meeting. Please email comments to dora_mentalhealthboard@state.co.us.

Meeting Format

Attendees may provide comments, concerns, and proposals to the program in writing in advance, in person at the meeting, or following the meeting. Participants will be able to discuss topics brought forward during the meeting. Program staff will moderate the discussion to ensure there is an equitable opportunity for all stakeholders to actively participate, and comments and suggested changes are collected for Board consideration and future rulemaking. This meeting is not a formal rulemaking hearing.


Seeking Public Board Members!

The Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) is seeking public board members to aid in its consumer-protection mission. DPO is the largest Division within the Department of Regulatory Agencies and oversees 345,000 licensees within more than 50 professions, occupations, and entities in Colorado.

Public board service is highly rewarding and has a strong impact on the well-being of Colorado citizens, many of whom are consumers of the professions, occupations and businesses over which DPO has regulatory authority. If you are someone who enjoys contributing to your community, and would like to serve as a public board member, please apply online on the Governor's website.

Expertise in a specific profession or field is not required for public board service. Public board members are needed for the following Boards.

  • Board of Accountancy
  • Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board
  • Nurse-Physician Advisory Task Force for Colorado Healthcare (NPATCH)
  • State Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners
  • State Board of Marriage and Family Therapist Examiners
  • State Board of Psychologist Examiners
  • State Board of Social Work Examiners

More details on public board service can be located in the 2018 Boards and Commissions Book.


Mandatory Reporting Reminder

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);
  • Podiatrists;
  • Dentists and dental hygienists;
  • Chiropractors;
  • Nurses (including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners);
  • Nursing home administrators;
  • Occupational therapists;
  • Optometrists;
  • Physical therapists;
  • Pharmacists;
  • Veterinarians;
  • 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 child abuse reporting, please contact the Office of Children, Youth, and Families’ Child Welfare Training System at 800-390-9619 or support@coloradocwts.com.

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 cdhs_aps_questions@state.co.us.


Changes to Exam Pre-Approval Process

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.


New Toolkit Available from Colorado Crisis Services

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.


HB17-1011 - Statute of Limitation Discipline Mental Health Professional

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 dora_mentalhealthboard@state.co.us.


New Streamlined Applications

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.

We hope applicants will find the process easier to navigate. If you have questions, please visit our website for Candidate Permit FAQs or contact us at dora_mentalhealthboard@state.co.us.


Important Legislation Signed by Governor

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.


Peer Assistance Services, Inc.

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.