Protect Your Livelihood and Communicate with a Maryland Social Worker License Defense Lawyer
A Maryland social worker is a person who is licensed by the state to practice clinical social work in Maryland. This individual will be granted the authority to provide mental health services in an effort to evaluate, treat, and prevent disorders that are mental and/or emotional in affected groups or individuals taken on as clients or patients. Beyond this, a licensed social worker may also assist in assessing an individual client or patient’s psychological behavior and development, as well as interpersonal relationships. Yet, despite the dedication of these professionals, their licenses are often jeopardized due to allegations of misconduct. When this occurs, it is imperative to seek assistance with a Maryland social worker license defense lawyer.
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, LLC defends the professional licenses of social workers in Maryland. Our experienced Maryland social worker license defense attorneys represent social workers across the State of Maryland in their fight to protect their livelihoods.
Maryland Social Worker License Requirements
In order to practice social work in the State of Maryland, or to refer to oneself as a social worker, an individual must be licensed by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners (the Board). In order to practice clinical social work in Maryland, the individual must be licensed as a Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical level.
There are two ways for a social worker to apply for a license in Maryland – by examination and by endorsement. If an individual has had a social worker’s license in another state and obtained his or her license by passing the examination, he or she may become licensed in Maryland by way of endorsement. He or she may apply for the level of license in Maryland which is comparable to the license held in the other state.
There are four types of Social Worker licenses that are issued in Maryland:
- Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW);
- Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW);
- Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW); and
- Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C).
In order to obtain an LCSW license in Maryland, the individual must also have at least two years of social worker experience under the supervision of an LCSW or LCSW-C. In order to obtain an LCSW-C license in Maryland, the individual must also have at least two years of social worker experience under the supervision of an LCSW-C.
All social worker licenses must be renewed every two years. Social workers are required to pursue continuing education, proof of which can be randomly audited by the Board, in order to be able to renew their license in Maryland.
Complaints Against Social Workers
When a complaint is received by the Board against a Maryland social worker, it reviews the allegations. Should the Board believe there may have been a violation of the Social Work Practice Act (SWPA), the complaint is referred for further investigation. Once an investigator has completed the investigation and provided a full report, the Board can then vote to either dismiss the matter, if it is determined that the individual did not violate the SWPA. If it is determined that the social worker did violate the SWPA, the Board may take informal action against the individual. This is often in the form of a private Letter of Education or Letter of Admonishment, which is not part of the public record and is only disclosed to the accused licensee. Alternatively, the Board may vote to take action against the social worker and charge him or her with the particular violation of the SWPA. Should this be the decision by the Board, then the case is referred to Maryland’s Office of the Attorney General (AG). The AG prosecutes the matter, which may be settled via a case resolution conference or may proceed to a formal hearing.
The result of a hearing or case resolution conference may result in:
- Suspension of the social worker license;
- Revocation of the social worker license; and
- Probation ordered for the social worker.
Unlike informal action, this information is public. In fact, it is published in the Board’s newsletter and is reported to the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The ASWB shares information on formal disciplinary actions taken against social workers throughout the nation.
In any event, the accused social worker is informed in writing of the results of the Board’s investigation, a process that typically takes about three months, although it may take longer depending on the specific circumstances.
Actions or Inactions of the Social Work Practice Act
The Board may decide to deny the license of someone applying for Maryland licensure, fine a current licensee, reprimand a current licensee, place a licensee on probation, or suspend or revoke the applicant or licensee if a violation of the SWPA has been determined. Some, but not all, examples of violations of the SWPA include:
- Practicing social work without a valid Maryland license;
- Having a romantic relationship with a current or former client or patient;
- Having any form of sexual contact with a current or former client or patient;
- Failing to report child sexual or physical abuse;
- Failing to keep appropriate client or patient records;
- Socializing with clients or patients; and
- Billing an insurance company for services that were not rendered.
Understanding the process of obtaining and protecting a Maryland social workers license can be difficult. There are several regulations by which a social worker is governed and he or she must strictly adhere to these regulations to ensure continued compliance and licensure.
Contact a Maryland Social Worker License Defense Lawyer Today
The experienced professional license defense attorneys at the Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, LLC can assist you in defending your professional license, reputation, and financial future. Do not allow the years of studies and thousands of dollars in tuition to be thrown away due to negative accusations against your professional social worker license in Maryland. Our firm may be able to have your case dismissed altogether if we are able to successfully disprove the allegations against you.
Should the case not be dismissed, we can put forth a strong and aggressive defense on your behalf to protect one of your biggest assets – your Maryland social worker license. Do not be afraid and give up before getting advice from an experienced Maryland social worker license defense lawyer. Call 410-514-6099 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation with a member of our team.