By Paul R. Pace, News staff
NASW’s Guam Chapter celebrated a major victory for social workers and residents in November.
The chapter was instrumental in convincing the 31st Guam Legislature to pass social work title protection into law and to create a social work licensing board.
Ovita Rebanio Perez, president of the NASW Guam Chapter, said a grant from the NASW Social Work Reinvestment Initiative that started in 2008 fueled the campaign to make social work title protection a reality for the U.S. territory, which is located in the western Pacific Ocean.
The new law “will better protect consumers from unethical social work practice and raise standards for the social work profession on Guam,” Perez said.
“It was my primary goal as president, and in partnership with the University of Guam’s Social Work Division, the faculty and the students, we were able to achieve this goal in 2012,” she said. Title protection has been a goal since the chapter started in 1999, she added.
NASW Guam raised awareness for the effort through legislative forums, conference work groups, research and surveys from social workers as well as through individual site visits to each senator’s office. Social workers and UOG students helped craft the bill with legislators.
“We also held media interviews with local TV and radio stations advocating the importance of licensure for consumer protection, title protection and raising standards for practice,” Perez explained. “We placed ads in the local newspaper inclusive of a policy brief on its importance to consumers and practitioners alike.”
The law establishes a social work licensing program that protects the titles of licensed bachelor’s degree social worker, licensed master’s degree social worker and licensed clinical social worker for those who meet the applicable requirements and hold the license.
The Social Work Licensing Board in Guam will consist of four social workers, with one member representing the NASW Guam Chapter and one non-social worker representing the general public.
From the April 2013 NASW News. NASW members click here for the full story.