Alabama Senate passes bill to allow clinical social workers to diagnose within scope of practice

Apr 26, 2023

a soldier and his family meet with a social worker

By Dawn Ellis-Murray, NASW Alabama Chapter Executive Director

Greetings social workers and social work advocates.

It’s done.  HB56, the bill allowing clinical social workers to diagnose within their scope of practice, passed in the Alabama Senate.  It is now ready to be signed into law.

Finally, we see momentum and a sense of solidarity in the field of social work here in Alabama. This legislation is now headed to Governor Kay Ivey for signature. With the update of these regulations by the Alabama Board of Social Work Examiners, social workers of Alabama will officially be able to diagnose.

This is a momentous accomplishment that took the support of many social workers, students, and organizations, including the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and of course NASW.  

Special thanks to state Rep. Frances Holk-Jones and Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison and Dr. Dawna Nelson, research fellow Alabama Commission on Higher Education.  Nelson spearheaded the grass root advocacy and coordination to make this a reality.  

This legislation has major implications on practitioners across the country – particularly those in Veteran Heath Care Systems (VAs)  nationwide.

The bill will go into effect three months after the governor signs it into law.