Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
11/26/2020

Chapter 20. Regulations Governing the Practice of Social Work

Part I
General Provisions

18VAC140-20-10. Definitions.

A. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them in § 54.1-3700 of the Code of Virginia:

Baccalaureate social worker

Board

Casework

Casework management and supportive services

Clinical social worker

Master's social worker

Practice of social work

Social worker

B. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Accredited school of social work" means a school of social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

"Active practice" means post-licensure practice at the level of licensure for which an applicant is seeking licensure in Virginia and shall include at least 360 hours of practice in a 12-month period.

"Ancillary services" means activities such as case management, recordkeeping, referral, and coordination of services.

"Clinical course of study" means graduate course work that includes specialized advanced courses in human behavior and the social environment, social justice and policy, psychopathology, and diversity issues; research; clinical practice with individuals, families, and groups; and a clinical practicum that focuses on diagnostic, prevention, and treatment services.

"Clinical social work services" include the application of social work principles and methods in performing assessments and diagnoses based on a recognized manual of mental and emotional disorders or recognized system of problem definition, preventive and early intervention services, and treatment services, including psychosocial interventions, psychotherapy, and counseling for mental disorders, substance abuse, marriage and family dysfunction, and problems caused by social and psychological stress or health impairment.

"Exempt practice" is that which meets the conditions of exemption from the requirements of licensure as defined in § 54.1-3701 of the Code of Virginia.

"Face-to-face supervision" means the physical presence of the individuals involved in the supervisory relationship during either individual or group supervision or the use of technology that provides real-time, visual contact among the individuals involved.

"LBSW" means a licensed baccalaureate social worker.

"LMSW" means a licensed master's social worker.

"Nonexempt practice" is that which does not meet the conditions of exemption from the requirements of licensure as defined in § 54.1-3701 of the Code of Virginia.

"Supervisee" means an individual who has submitted a supervisory contract and has received board approval to provide clinical services in social work under supervision.

"Supervision" means a professional relationship between a supervisor and supervisee in which the supervisor directs, monitors and evaluates the supervisee's social work practice while promoting development of the supervisee's knowledge, skills and abilities to provide social work services in an ethical and competent manner.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 1.1, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 12, Issue 03, eff. November 29, 1995; Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998; Volume 25, Issue 04, eff. November 26, 2008; Volume 26, Issue 06, eff. January 7, 2010; Volume 29, Issue 22, eff. July 31, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 26, eff. September 25, 2013; Volume 34, Issue 10, eff. February 7, 2018; Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. August 8, 2019.

18VAC140-20-20. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 1.2, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Virginia Register Volume 6, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 9, Issue 5, eff. December 30, 1992; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 12, Issue 3, eff. November 29, 1995.

18VAC140-20-30. Fees.

A. The board has established fees for the following:

1. Registration of supervision

$50

2. Addition to or change in registration of supervision

$25

3. Application processing

a. Licensed clinical social worker

$165

b. LBSW

c. LMSW

$100

$115

4. Annual license renewal

a. Registered social worker

$25

b. Associate social worker

$25

c. LBSW

d. LMSW

$55

$65

e. Licensed clinical social worker

$90

5. Penalty for late renewal

a. Registered social worker

$10

b. Associate social worker

$10

c. LBSW

d. LMSW

$20

$20

e. Licensed clinical social worker

$30

6. Verification of license to another jurisdiction

$25

7. Additional or replacement licenses

$15

8. Additional or replacement wall certificates

$25

9. Handling fee for returned check or dishonored credit or debit card

$50

10. Reinstatement following disciplinary action

$500

B. Fees shall be paid by check or money order made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia and forwarded to the board. All fees are nonrefundable.

C. Examination fees shall be paid directly to the examination service according to its requirements.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 1.3, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 12, Issue 03, eff. November 29, 1995; Volume 13, Issue 10, eff. March 5, 1997; Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998; Volume 19, Issue 14, eff. April 23, 2003; Volume 22, Issue 09, eff. February 8, 2006; Volume 32, Issue 07, eff. December 30, 2015; Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. August 8, 2019; Volume 36, Issue 09, eff. February 6, 2020; Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. March 5, 2020.

18VAC140-20-35. Sex offender treatment provider certification.

Anyone licensed by the board who is seeking certification as a sex offender treatment provider shall obtain certification under the Board of Psychology and adhere to the board's Regulations Governing the Certification of Sex Offender Treatment Providers, 18VAC125-30-10 et seq.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 and Chapter 37 (§ 54.1-3700 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998.

18VAC140-20-37. Licensure; general.

LBSWs and LMSWs may practice in exempt practice settings under appropriate supervision. In accordance with § 54.1-3700 of the Code of Virginia, an LBSW shall engage in the practice of social work under the supervision of a master's social worker. Only licensed clinical social workers may practice at the autonomous level.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 and Chapter 37 (§ 54.1-3700 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998; amended Virginia Register Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. August 8, 2019.

Part II
Requirements for Licensure

18VAC140-20-40. Requirements for licensure by examination as a licensed clinical social worker.

Every applicant for examination for licensure as a licensed clinical social worker shall:

1. Meet the education requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-49 and experience requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-50.

2. Submit a completed application to the board office within two years of completion of supervised experience to include:

a. Documentation, on the appropriate forms, of the successful completion of the supervised experience requirements of 18VAC140-20-50 along with documentation of the supervisor's out-of-state license where applicable. Applicants whose former supervisor is deceased, or whose whereabouts is unknown, shall submit to the board a notarized affidavit from the present chief executive officer of the agency, corporation or partnership in which the applicant was supervised. The affidavit shall specify dates of employment, job responsibilities, supervisor's name and last known address, and the total number of hours spent by the applicant with the supervisor in face-to-face supervision;

b. The application fee prescribed in 18VAC140-20-30;

c. Official transcript or documentation submitted from the appropriate institutions of higher education that verifies successful completion of educational requirements set forth in 18VAC140-20-49;

d. Documentation of any other health or mental health licensure or certification, if applicable; and

e. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).

3. Provide evidence of passage of the examination prescribed in 18VAC140-20-70.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 2.1, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 12, Issue 03, eff. November 29, 1995; Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998; Volume 25, Issue 04, eff. November 26, 2008; Volume 27, Issue 11, eff. March 2, 2011; Volume 29, Issue 22, eff. July 31, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 26, eff. September 25, 2013; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. August 12, 2016; Volume 33, Issue 20, eff. June 28, 2017.

18VAC140-20-45. Requirements for licensure by endorsement.

A. Every applicant for licensure by endorsement shall submit in one package:

1. A completed application and the application fee prescribed in 18VAC140-20-30.

2. Documentation of active social work licensure in good standing obtained by standards required for licensure in another jurisdiction as verified by the out-of-state licensing agency. Licensure in the other jurisdiction shall be of a comparable type as the licensure that the applicant is seeking in Virginia.

3. Verification of a passing score on a board-approved national exam at the level for which the applicant is seeking licensure in Virginia.

4. Documentation of any other health or mental health licensure or certification, if applicable.

5. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).

6. Verification of:

a. Active practice at the level for which the applicant is seeking licensure in another United States jurisdiction for 24 out of the past 60 months;

b. Active practice in an exempt setting at the level for which the applicant is seeking licensure for 24 out of the past 60 months; or

c. Evidence of supervised experience requirements substantially equivalent to those outlined in 18VAC140-20-50 A 2 and A 3.

7. Certification that the applicant is not the respondent in any pending or unresolved board action in another jurisdiction or in a malpractice claim.

B. If an applicant for licensure by endorsement has not passed a board-approved national examination at the level for which the applicant is seeking licensure in Virginia, the board may approve the applicant to sit for such examination.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998; amended, Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 11, eff. March 2, 2011; Volume 29, Issue 22, eff. July 31, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2013; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. August 12, 2016; Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. March 5, 2020.

18VAC140-20-49. Educational requirements for a licensed clinical social worker.

A. The applicant for licensure as a clinical social worker shall document successful completion of one of the following: (i) a master's degree in social work with a clinical course of study from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, (ii) a master's degree in social work with a nonclinical concentration from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education together with successful completion of the educational requirements for a clinical course of study through a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, or (iii) a program of education and training in social work at an educational institution outside the United States recognized by the Council on Social Work Education.

B. The requirement for a clinical practicum in a clinical course of study shall be a minimum of 600 hours, which shall be integrated with clinical course of study coursework and supervised by a person who is a licensed clinical social worker or who holds a master's or doctor's degree in social work and has a minimum of three years of experience in clinical social work services after earning the graduate degree. An applicant who has otherwise met the requirements for a clinical course of study but who did not have a minimum of 600 hours in a supervised field placement/practicum in clinical social work services may meet the requirement by obtaining an equivalent number of hours of supervised practice in clinical social work services in addition to the experience required in 18VAC140-20-50.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 27, Issue 11, eff. March 2, 2011; amended, Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 26, eff. September 25, 2013.

18VAC140-20-50. Experience requirements for a licensed clinical social worker.

A. Supervised experience. Supervised post-master's degree experience without prior written board approval will not be accepted toward licensure, except supervision obtained in another United States jurisdiction may be accepted if it met the requirements of that jurisdiction.

1. Registration. An individual who proposes to obtain supervised post-master's degree experience in Virginia shall, prior to the onset of such supervision, or whenever there is an addition or change of supervised practice, supervisor, clinical social work services or location:

a. Register on a form provided by the board and completed by the supervisor and the supervised individual; and

b. Pay the registration of supervision fee set forth in 18VAC140-20-30.

2. Hours. The applicant shall have completed a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised post-master's degree experience in the delivery of clinical social work services and in ancillary services that support such delivery. A minimum of one hour and a maximum of four hours of face-to-face supervision shall be provided per 40 hours of work experience for a total of at least 100 hours. No more than 50 of the 100 hours may be obtained in group supervision, nor shall there be more than six persons being supervised in a group unless approved in advance by the board. The board may consider alternatives to face-to-face supervision if the applicant can demonstrate an undue burden due to hardship, disability or geography.

a. Supervised experience shall be acquired in no less than two nor more than four consecutive years.

b. Supervisees shall obtain throughout their hours of supervision a minimum of 1,380 hours of supervised experience in face-to-face client contact in the delivery of clinical social work services. The remaining hours may be spent in ancillary services supporting the delivery of clinical social work services.

3. An individual who does not complete the supervision requirement after four consecutive years of supervised experience may request an extension of up to 12 months. The request for an extension shall include evidence that demonstrates extenuating circumstances that prevented completion of the supervised experience within four consecutive years.

B. Requirements for supervisors.

1. The supervisor shall hold an active, unrestricted license as a licensed clinical social worker in the jurisdiction in which the clinical services are being rendered with at least two years of post-licensure clinical social work experience. The board may consider supervisors with commensurate qualifications if the applicant can demonstrate an undue burden due to geography or disability or if supervision was obtained in another United States jurisdiction.

2. The supervisor shall have received professional training in supervision, consisting of a three credit-hour graduate course in supervision or at least 14 hours of continuing education offered by a provider approved under 18VAC140-20-105. The graduate course or hours of continuing education in supervision shall be obtained by a supervisor within five years immediately preceding registration of supervision.

3. The supervisor shall not provide supervision for a family member or provide supervision for anyone with whom he has a dual relationship.

4. The board may consider supervisors from jurisdictions outside of Virginia who provided clinical social work supervision if they have commensurate qualifications but were either (i) not licensed because their jurisdiction did not require licensure or (ii) were not designated as clinical social workers because the jurisdiction did not require such designation.

C. Responsibilities of supervisors. The supervisor shall:

1. Be responsible for the social work activities of the supervisee as set forth in this subsection once the supervisory arrangement is accepted;

2. Review and approve the diagnostic assessment and treatment plan of a representative sample of the clients assigned to the applicant during the course of supervision. The sample should be representative of the variables of gender, age, diagnosis, length of treatment and treatment method within the client population seen by the applicant. It is the applicant's responsibility to assure the representativeness of the sample that is presented to the supervisor;

3. Provide supervision only for those social work activities for which the supervisor has determined the applicant is competent to provide to clients;

4. Provide supervision only for those activities for which the supervisor is qualified by education, training and experience;

5. Evaluate the supervisee's knowledge and document minimal competencies in the areas of an identified theory base, application of a differential diagnosis, establishing and monitoring a treatment plan, development and appropriate use of the professional relationship, assessing the client for risk of imminent danger, understanding the requirements of law for reporting any harm or risk of harm to self or others, and implementing a professional and ethical relationship with clients;

6. Be available to the applicant on a regularly scheduled basis for supervision;

7. Maintain documentation, for five years post-supervision, of which clients were the subject of supervision; and

8. Ensure that the board is notified of any change in supervision or if supervision has ended or been terminated by the supervisor.

D. Responsibilities of supervisees.

1. Supervisees may not directly bill for services rendered or in any way represent themselves as independent, autonomous practitioners, or licensed clinical social workers.

2. During the supervised experience, supervisees shall use their names and the initials of their degree, and the title "Supervisee in Social Work" in all written communications.

3. Clients shall be informed in writing of the supervisee's status and the supervisor's name, professional address, and phone number.

4. Supervisees shall not supervise the provision of clinical social work services provided by another person.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 2.2, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 12, Issue 03, eff. November 29, 1995; Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998; Volume 24, Issue 23, eff. September 4, 2008; Volume 25, Issue 04, eff. November 26, 2008; Volume 26, Issue 06, eff. January 7, 2010; Volume 27, Issue 11, eff. March 2, 2011; Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2013; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. August 12, 2016; Volume 33, Issue 20, eff. June 28, 2017.

18VAC140-20-51. Requirements for licensure by examination an LBSW or LMSW.

A. In order to be approved to sit for the board-approved examination as an LBSW or an LMSW, an applicant shall:

1. Meet the education requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-60.

2. Submit a completed application to the board office to include:

a. The application fee prescribed in 18VAC140-20-30; and

b. Official transcripts submitted from the appropriate institutions of higher education.

B. In order to be licensed by examination as an LBSW or an LMSW, an applicant shall:

1. Meet the requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-60; and

2. Submit, in addition to the application requirements of subsection A of this section, the following:

a. Verification of a passing score on the board-approved national examination;

b. Documentation of any other health or mental health licensure or certification, if applicable; and

c. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 25, Issue 04, eff. November 26, 2008; amended, Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 22, eff. July 31, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2013; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. August 12, 2016; Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. August 8, 2019; Volume 37, Issue 01, eff. October 15, 2020.

18VAC140-20-60. Education requirements for an LBSW or LMSW.

The applicant for licensure as an LBSW shall hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school of social work. The applicant for licensure as an LMSW shall hold a master's degree from an accredited school of social work. Graduates of foreign institutions must establish the equivalency of their education to this requirement through the Foreign Equivalency Determination Service of the Council on Social Work Education.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 2.3, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 12, Issue 03, eff. November 29, 1995; Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998; Volume 25, Issue 04, eff. November 26, 2008; Volume 26, Issue 06, eff. January 7, 2010; Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2013; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. August 12, 2016; Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. August 8, 2019; Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. March 5, 2020.

Part III
Examinations

18VAC140-20-70. Examination requirement.

A. An applicant for licensure by the board as an LBSW, an LMSW, or clinical social worker shall pass a written examination prescribed by the board.

1. The examination prescribed for licensure as a clinical social worker shall be the licensing examination of the Association of Social Work Boards at the clinical level.

2. The examination prescribed for licensure as an LBSW shall be the licensing examination of the Association of Social Work Boards at the bachelor's level.

3. The examination prescribed for licensure as an LMSW shall be the licensing examination of the Association of Social Work Boards at the master's level.

B. An applicant approved by the board to sit for an examination shall take that examination within two years of the date of the initial board approval. If the applicant has not passed the examination by the end of the two-year period here prescribed, the applicant shall reapply according to the requirements of the regulations in effect at that time in order to be approved for another two years in which to pass the examination.

C. If an applicant for clinical social work licensure has not passed the examination within the second two-year approval period, the applicant shall be required to register for supervision and complete one additional year as a supervisee before approval for another two-year period in which to re-take the examination may be granted.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 3.1, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 12, Issue 03, eff. November 29, 1995; Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998; Volume 24, Issue 23, eff. September 4, 2008; Volume 26, Issue 06, eff. January 7, 2010; Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2013; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. August 12, 2016; Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. August 8, 2019.

18VAC140-20-80. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 §§ 3.2 and 4.1, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Virginia Register Volume 6, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 9, Issue 5, eff. December 30, 1992; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 5, eff. December 23, 1998.

18VAC140-20-100. Licensure renewal.

A. Beginning with the 2017 renewal, licensees shall renew their licenses on or before June 30 of each year and pay the renewal fee prescribed by the board.

B. Licensees who wish to maintain an active license shall pay the appropriate fee and document on the renewal form compliance with the continued competency requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-105. Newly licensed individuals are not required to document continuing education on the first renewal date following initial licensure.

C. A licensee who wishes to place his license in inactive status may do so upon payment of a fee equal to one-half of the annual license renewal fee as indicated on the renewal form. No person shall practice social work or clinical social work in Virginia unless he holds a current active license. A licensee who has placed himself in inactive status may become active by fulfilling the reactivation requirements set forth in 18VAC140-20-110.

D. Each licensee shall furnish the board his current address of record. All notices required by law or by this chapter to be mailed by the board to any such licensee shall be validly given when mailed to the latest address of record given by the licensee. Any change in the address of record or the public address, if different from the address of record, shall be furnished to the board within 30 days of such change.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 5.1, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 17, Issue 14, eff. April 25, 2001; Volume 25, Issue 18, eff. July 1, 2009; Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2013; Volume 32, Issue 07, eff. December 30, 2015.

18VAC140-20-105. Continued competency requirements for renewal of an active license.

A. Licensed clinical social workers shall be required to have completed a minimum of 30 contact hours of continuing education. LBSWs and LMSWs shall be required to have completed a minimum of 15 contact hours of continuing education prior to licensure renewal in even years. Courses or activities shall be directly related to the practice of social work or another behavioral health field. A minimum of six of those hours for licensed clinical social workers and a minimum of three of those hours for licensed social workers must pertain to ethics or the standards of practice for the behavioral health professions or to laws governing the practice of social work in Virginia. Up to two continuing education hours required for renewal may be satisfied through delivery of social work services, without compensation, to low-income individuals receiving health services through a local health department or a free clinic organized in whole or primarily for the delivery of those services, as verified by the department or clinic. Three hours of volunteer service is required for one hour of continuing education credit.

1. The board may grant an extension for good cause of up to one year for the completion of continuing education requirements upon written request from the licensee prior to the renewal date. Such extension shall not relieve the licensee of the continuing education requirement.

2. The board may grant an exemption for all or part of the continuing education requirements due to circumstances beyond the control of the licensee such as temporary disability, mandatory military service, or officially declared disasters upon written request from the licensee prior to the renewal date.

B. Hours may be obtained from a combination of board-approved activities in the following two categories:

1. Category I. Formally Organized Learning Activities. A minimum of 20 hours for licensed clinical social workers or 10 hours for licensed social workers shall be documented in this category, which shall include one or more of the following:

a. Regionally accredited university or college academic courses in a behavioral health discipline. A maximum of 15 hours will be accepted for each academic course.

b. Continuing education programs offered by universities or colleges accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

c. Workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses in the behavioral health field offered by federal, state or local social service agencies, public school systems, or licensed health facilities and licensed hospitals.

d. Workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses in the behavioral health field offered by an individual or organization that has been certified or approved by one of the following:

(1) The Child Welfare League of America and its state and local affiliates.

(2) The National Association of Social Workers and its state and local affiliates.

(3) The National Association of Black Social Workers and its state and local affiliates.

(4) The Family Service Association of America and its state and local affiliates.

(5) The Clinical Social Work Association and its state and local affiliates.

(6) The Association of Social Work Boards.

(7) Any state social work board.

2. Category II. Individual Professional Activities. A maximum of 10 of the required 30 hours for licensed clinical social workers or a maximum of five of the required 15 hours for licensed social workers may be earned in this category, which shall include one or more of the following:

a. Participation in an Association of Social Work Boards item writing workshop. (Activity will count for a maximum of two hours.)

b. Publication of a professional social work-related book or initial preparation or presentation of a social work-related course. (Activity will count for a maximum of 10 hours.)

c. Publication of a professional social work-related article or chapter of a book, or initial preparation or presentation of a social work-related in-service training, seminar, or workshop. (Activity will count for a maximum of five hours.)

d. Provision of a continuing education program sponsored or approved by an organization listed under Category I. (Activity will count for a maximum of two hours and will only be accepted one time for any specific program.)

e. Field instruction of graduate students in a Council on Social Work Education-accredited school. (Activity will count for a maximum of two hours.)

f. Serving as an officer or committee member of one of the national professional social work associations listed under subdivision B 1 d of this section or as a member of a state social work licensing board. (Activity will count for a maximum of two hours.)

g. Attendance at formal staffings at federal, state, or local social service agencies, public school systems, or licensed health facilities and licensed hospitals. (Activity will count for a maximum of five hours.)

h. Individual or group study including listening to audio tapes, viewing video tapes, or reading professional books or articles. (Activity will count for a maximum of five hours.)

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-3708 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 17, Issue 14, eff. April 25, 2001; amended, Virginia Register Volume 20, Issue 08, eff. January 28, 2004; Volume 24, Issue 20, eff. July 24, 2008; Volume 25, Issue 04, eff. November 26, 2008; Volume 26, Issue 06, eff. January 7, 2010; Volume 32, Issue 07, eff. December 30, 2015; Volume 33, Issue 11, eff. March 9, 2017; Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. August 8, 2019; Volume 36, Issue 04, eff. November 13, 2019.

18VAC140-20-106. Documenting compliance with continuing education requirements.

A. All licensees in active status are required to maintain original documentation for a period of three years following renewal.

B. The board may conduct an audit of licensees to verify compliance with the requirement for a renewal period.

C. Upon request, a licensee shall provide documentation as follows:

1. Documentation of Category I activities by submission of:

a. Official transcripts showing credit hours earned; or

b. Certificates of participation.

2. Attestation of completion of Category II activities.

D. Continuing education hours required by disciplinary order shall not be used to satisfy renewal requirements.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 17, Issue 14, eff. April 25, 2001; amended, Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2013; Volume 32, Issue 07, eff. December 30, 2015.

18VAC140-20-110. Late renewal; reinstatement; reactivation.

A. An LBSW, LMSW, or clinical social worker whose license has expired may renew that license within one year after its expiration date by:

1. Providing evidence of having met all applicable continuing education requirements.

2. Paying the penalty for late renewal and the renewal fee as prescribed in 18VAC140-20-30.

B. An LBSW, LMSW, or clinical social worker who fails to renew the license after one year and who wishes to resume practice shall apply for reinstatement and pay the reinstatement fee, which shall consist of the application processing fee and the penalty fee for late renewal, as set forth in 18VAC140-20-30. An applicant for reinstatement shall also provide:

1. Documentation of having completed all applicable continued competency hours equal to the number of years the license has lapsed, not to exceed four years;

2. Documentation of any other health or mental health licensure or certification held in another United States jurisdiction, if applicable; and

3. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank.

C. In addition to requirements set forth in subsection B of this section, an applicant for reinstatement whose license has been lapsed for 10 or more years shall also provide evidence of competency to practice by documenting:

1. Active practice in another United States jurisdiction for at least 24 out of the past 60 months immediately preceding application;

2. Active practice in an exempt setting for at least 24 out of the past 60 months immediately preceding application; or

3. Practice as a supervisee under supervision for at least 360 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding reinstatement of licensure in Virginia. The supervised practice shall include a minimum of 60 hours of face-to-face direct client contact and nine hours of face-to-face supervision.

D. An LBSW, LMSW, or clinical social worker wishing to reactivate an inactive license shall submit the difference between the renewal fee for active licensure and the fee for inactive licensure renewal and document completion of continued competency hours equal to the number of years the license has been inactive, not to exceed four years. An applicant for reactivation who has been inactive for 10 or more years shall also provide evidence of competency to practice by documenting:

1. Active practice in another United States jurisdiction for at least 24 out of the past 60 months immediately preceding application;

2. Active practice in an exempt setting for at least 24 out of the past 60 months immediately preceding application; or

3. Practice as a supervisee under supervision for at least 360 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding reactivation of licensure in Virginia. The supervised practice shall include a minimum of 60 hours of face-to-face direct client contact and nine hours of face-to-face supervision.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 5.2, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 12, Issue 03, eff. November 29, 1995; Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998; Volume 17, Issue 14, eff. April 25, 2001; Volume 29, Issue 22, eff. July 31, 2013; Volume 32, Issue 07, eff. December 30, 2015; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. August 12, 2016; Volume 34, Issue 10, eff. February 7, 2018; Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. August 8, 2019.

18VAC140-20-120. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 5.3, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Virginia Register Volume 6, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 9, Issue 5, eff. December 30, 1992; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 12, Issue 3, eff. November 29, 1995.

18VAC140-20-130. Renewal of registration for associate social workers and registered social workers.

The registration of every associate social worker and registered social worker with the former Virginia Board of Registration of Social Workers under former § 54-775.4 of the Code of Virginia shall expire on June 30 of each year.

1. Each registrant shall return the completed application before the expiration date, accompanied by the payment of the renewal fee prescribed by the board.

2. Failure to receive the renewal notice shall not relieve the registrant from the renewal requirement.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 5.4, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 32, Issue 07, eff. December 30, 2015.

18VAC140-20-140. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 6.1, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 25, Issue 04, eff. November 26, 2008.

Part V
Standards of Practice

18VAC140-20-150. Professional conduct.

A. The protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and the best interest of the public shall be the primary guide in determining the appropriate professional conduct of all persons whose activities are regulated by the board. Regardless of the delivery method, whether in person, by telephone or electronically, these standards shall apply to the practice of social work.

B. Persons licensed as LBSWs, LMSWs, and clinical social workers shall:

1. Be able to justify all services rendered to or on behalf of clients as necessary for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

2. Provide for continuation of care when services must be interrupted or terminated.

3. Practice only within the competency areas for which they are qualified by education and experience.

4. Report to the board known or suspected violations of the laws and regulations governing the practice of social work.

5. Neither accept nor give commissions, rebates, or other forms of remuneration for referral of clients for professional services.

6. Ensure that clients are aware of fees and billing arrangements before rendering services.

7. Inform clients of potential risks and benefits of services and the limitations on confidentiality and ensure that clients have provided informed written consent to treatment.

8. Keep confidential their therapeutic relationships with clients and disclose client records to others only with written consent of the client, with the following exceptions: (i) when the client is a danger to self or others; or (ii) as required by law.

9. When advertising their services to the public, ensure that such advertising is neither fraudulent nor misleading.

10. As treatment requires and with the written consent of the client, collaborate with other health or mental health providers concurrently providing services to the client.

11. Refrain from undertaking any activity in which one's personal problems are likely to lead to inadequate or harmful services.

12. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of the nature and directions of loyalties and responsibilities involved.

C. In regard to client records, persons licensed by the board shall comply with provisions of § 32.1-127.1:03 of the Code of Virginia on health records privacy and shall:

1. Maintain written or electronic clinical records for each client to include identifying information and assessment that substantiates diagnosis and treatment plans. Each record shall include a diagnosis and treatment plan, progress notes for each case activity, information received from all collaborative contacts and the treatment implications of that information, and the termination process and summary.

2. Maintain client records securely, inform all employees of the requirements of confidentiality, and provide for the destruction of records that are no longer useful in a manner that ensures client confidentiality.

3. Disclose or release records to others only with clients' expressed written consent or that of their legally authorized representative or as mandated by law.

4. Ensure confidentiality in the usage of client records and clinical materials by obtaining informed consent from clients or their legally authorized representative before (i) videotaping, (ii) audio recording, (iii) permitting third-party observation, or (iv) using identifiable client records and clinical materials in teaching, writing, or public presentations.

5. Maintain client records for a minimum of six years or as otherwise required by law from the date of termination of the therapeutic relationship with the following exceptions:

a. At minimum, records of a minor child shall be maintained for six years after attaining the age of majority or 10 years following termination, whichever comes later.

b. Records that are required by contractual obligation or federal law to be maintained for a longer period of time.

c. Records that have been transferred to another mental health professional or have been given to the client or his legally authorized representative.

D. In regard to dual relationships, persons licensed by the board shall:

1. Not engage in a dual relationship with a client or a supervisee that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of exploitation or harm to the client or supervisee. (Examples of such a relationship include familial, social, financial, business, bartering, or a close personal relationship with a client or supervisee.) Social workers shall take appropriate professional precautions when a dual relationship cannot be avoided, such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs.

2. Not have any type of romantic relationship or sexual intimacies with a client or those included in collateral therapeutic services, and not provide services to those persons with whom they have had a romantic or sexual relationship. Social workers shall not engage in romantic relationship or sexual intimacies with a former client within a minimum of five years after terminating the professional relationship. Social workers who engage in such a relationship after five years following termination shall have the responsibility to examine and document thoroughly that such a relationship did not have an exploitive nature, based on factors such as duration of therapy, amount of time since therapy, termination circumstances, client's personal history and mental status, adverse impact on the client. A client's consent to, initiation of or participation in sexual behavior or involvement with a social worker does not change the nature of the conduct nor lift the regulatory prohibition.

3. Not engage in any romantic or sexual relationship or establish a therapeutic relationship with a current supervisee or student. Social workers shall avoid any nonsexual dual relationship with a supervisee or student in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the supervisee or student, or the potential for interference with the supervisor's professional judgment.

4. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of the nature and directions of loyalties and responsibilities involved.

5. Not engage in a personal relationship with a former client in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm or if the former client continues to relate to the social worker in his professional capacity.

E. Upon learning of evidence that indicates a reasonable probability that another mental health provider is or may be guilty of a violation of standards of conduct as defined in statute or regulation, persons licensed by the board shall advise their clients of their right to report such misconduct to the Department of Health Professions in accordance with § 54.1-2400.4 of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 7.1, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 12, Issue 03, eff. November 29, 1995; Volume 15, Issue 05, eff. December 23, 1998; Volume 20, Issue 08, eff. January 28, 2004; Volume 25, Issue 04, eff. November 26, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. August 12, 2016; Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. August 8, 2019.

18VAC140-20-160. Grounds for disciplinary action or denial of issuance of a license or registration.

The board may refuse to admit an applicant to an examination; refuse to issue a license or registration to an applicant; or reprimand, impose a monetary penalty, place on probation, impose such terms as it may designate, suspend for a stated period of time or indefinitely, or revoke a license or registration for one or more of the following grounds:

1. Conviction of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;

2. Procurement of license by fraud or misrepresentation;

3. Conducting one's practice in such a manner so as to make the practice a danger to the health and welfare of one's clients or to the public. In the event a question arises concerning the continued competence of a licensee, the board will consider evidence of continuing education;

4. Being unable to practice social work with reasonable skill and safety to clients by reason of illness, excessive use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals or any other type of material or as a result of any mental or physical condition;

5. Conducting one's practice in a manner contrary to the standards of ethics of social work or in violation of 18VAC140-20-150, standards of practice;

6. Performing functions outside the board-licensed area of competency;

7. Failure to comply with the continued competency requirements set forth in 18VAC140-20-105;

8. Violating or aiding and abetting another to violate any statute applicable to the practice of social work or any provision of this chapter; and

9. Failure to provide supervision in accordance with the provisions of 18VAC140-20-50 or 18VAC140-20-60.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 7.2, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 17, Issue 14, eff. April 25, 2001; Volume 25, Issue 04, eff. November 26, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. August 12, 2016.

18VAC140-20-170. Reinstatement following disciplinary action.

Any person whose license has been suspended, revoked, or denied renewal by the board under the provisions of 18VAC140-20-160 shall, in order to be eligible for reinstatement, (i) submit a new application to the board for a license, (ii) pay the appropriate reinstatement fee, and (iii) submit any other credentials as prescribed by the board. After a hearing, the board may, at its discretion, grant the reinstatement.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR620-01-2 § 7.3, eff. July 6, 1989; amended, Volume 06, Issue 26, eff. October 24, 1990; Volume 09, Issue 05, eff. December 30, 1992; Volume 12, Issue 03, eff. November 29, 1995.

18VAC140-20-171. Criteria for delegation of informal fact-finding proceedings to an agency subordinate.

A. Decision to delegate. In accordance with § 54.1-2400 (10) of the Code of Virginia, the board may delegate an informal fact-finding proceeding to an agency subordinate upon determination that probable cause exists that a practitioner may be subject to a disciplinary action.

B. Criteria for delegation. Cases that may not be delegated to an agency subordinate include violations of standards of practice as set forth in 18VAC140-20-150, except as may otherwise be determined by the probable cause committee in consultation with the board chair.

C. Criteria for an agency subordinate.

1. An agency subordinate authorized by the board to conduct an informal fact-finding proceeding may include board members and professional staff or other persons deemed knowledgeable by virtue of their training and experience in administrative proceedings involving the regulation and discipline of health professionals.

2. The executive director shall maintain a list of appropriately qualified persons to whom an informal fact-finding proceeding may be delegated.

3. The board may delegate to the executive director the selection of the agency subordinate who is deemed appropriately qualified to conduct a proceeding based on the qualifications of the subordinate and the type of case being heard.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 21, Issue 21, eff. July 27, 2005.

FORMS (18VAC140-20).

Verification of Clinical Supervision (rev. 8/2016)

Request for Termination of Supervision (rev. 11/2015)

Application for Initial and Add or Change Registration of Supervision toward LCSW licensure, online form available at https://www.dhp.virginia.gov/social/social_forms.htm

Application for Licensure by Examination and Endorsement as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, online form available at https://www.dhp.virginia.gov/social/social_forms.htm

Electronic Application Instructions for Licensure by Examination as a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW) (rev. 8/2019)

Electronic Application Instructions for Licensure by Endorsement as a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW) (rev. 8/2019)

Electronic Application Instructions for Licensure by Examination as a Licensed Master's Social Worker (LMSW) (rev. 8/2019)

Electronic application instructions for Licensure by Endorsement as a Licensed Master's Social Worker (LMSW) (rev. 8/2019)

Electronic Application Instructions for Licensure by Examination as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) (rev. 8/2019)

Electronic application instructions for Licensure by Endorsement as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) (rev. 8/2019)

Instructions and Application for Registration of Supervision for LSW (rev. 9/2015)

Reinstatement Application for LCSW, LMSW, LBSW (rev. 12/2013)

Reinstatement Following Disciplinary Action for LCSW, LMSW, LBSW (rev. 12/2013)

Social Work Name-Address Change Form (rev. 5/2018)

Request for Inactive Status of Current Social Work License (rev. 7/2017)

Request for Change of Status - Inactive to Active (rev. 7/2017)

Request for Verification of Virginia License (rev. 7/2017)

Request for Late Renewal (rev. 6/2017)

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.