Washington, D.C. is considering eliminating the ASWB social work licensing exam for certain types of social work because it is racially biased and makes it harder to end the social worker shortage.
Kimberly Warmsley, MSW, LCSW, NASW-CA’s Executive Director, shares “As someone who identifies as a woman of color, I have personally experienced and understand the cultural biases and challenges that many test takers of color face. The significant disparity in pass rates between clinicians of color, particularly African American test takers, and those who are not of color is both alarming and disturbing. Given the shortage of clinicians, especially clinicians of color, it is crucial that we explore alternative solutions for licensure requirements to prioritize equity and inclusion, especially during the current mental health crisis our society is facing. This is a critical moment for reform and innovation in order to truly heal our communities and youth.”
NASW-CA is committed to increasing diverse representation at all levels of social work practice. We support identifying alternative pathways to licensure that are inclusive and just, and we will continue to advocate for dismantling biased and racist systems. We look to forward to uplifting solutions that remove barriers and ensure equitable access to all career pathways for social workers.