After a public hearing in the House of Delegates, members worked with stakeholders to compromise on Senate Bill 559, a bill that deals with the licensing requirements for social workers in West Virginia.
As passed in the Senate, the bill would have allowed the state Department of Health and Human Resources to create a training program for new social workers who do not have a degree in the field. Currently in West Virginia, to get a social work license a person must have a bachelor's or master's degree from a Council on Social Work Education accredited program.
The bill as passed in the House still calls on the DHHR to create the training program, but only for a provisional license. Anyone apply for the provisional license must also have a four year degree in any field.
“What this bill does is allow DHHR to hire the personnel that they need these are qualified personnel," Government Organization Committee Chair Gary Howell said of the bill before it was put to a vote.
"The board of social workers is on board with this committee substitute. We met with WVU, Marshall, West Virginia State University and several others. They are on board with this. DHHR is on board with this. We made a lot of changes in this bill to make sure that the children of this state are safe.”
The bill was approved 62 to 33 Friday.