Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger Explains Common Ways that Social Workers Endanger Their Licenses

Social workers frequently work with their community’s most troubled and marginalized populations, often working closely with people suffering from addiction, poverty, and abuse to accomplish their goals. But these necessary aspects of the social worker’s job frequently expose social workers to accusations of misconduct. Because social workers often work one-on-one with clients, these allegations can be tough to defend.

If you are a social worker in Kansas or Missouri facing an investigation into your conduct, call attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation. Do not agree to speak with an investigator without an experienced attorney by your side. Your career, reputation, and livelihood are at risk, and the challenge facing you is one you cannot navigate alone.

Most Frequent Allegations Against Social Workers 

Boundary Violations—allegations of boundary violations arise when a social worker’s relationship with a client extends beyond a therapeutic relationship. Sexual and romantic relationships are clear boundary violations, but even a perceived friendship or connection on social media can give rise to allegations. With the rise of social media, I advise clients to have a strict rule that they will have no virtual or social media relationship with their clients.

Failure to Maintain Client Records and Case Notes—social workers often struggle under oppressive caseloads. Clients’ immediate emotional and safety needs can seem more important than paperwork. But maintaining client records is a vital and mandatory aspect of the social work profession, and a failure to keep up with case notes results in an inability to communicate across the therapeutic team. Have a system for documenting client interactions at the time those interactions occur or soon after. I frequently see social workers find themselves in the midst of an administrative investigation when they have tried to catch up long after a client meeting or when they created false records long after a client interaction has occurred. 

Working Outside the Scope of Practice—while social workers are all compelled to help those in need, that compulsion can result in licensure issues when the social worker wanders outside his or her area of competency. If you are trying to develop a new competency, seek and document mentoring, supervision, training, and education. The problem with working outside the scope of practice is that, without mentoring and training, you can easily make mistakes and not be aware you are making them, even when you are otherwise conscientious. 

Failing to Keep Up with Continuing Education Requirements—many disciplinary actions start with an allegation that a social worker was unable to keep up with required continuing education requirements and grow from there. Keep up with your continuing education requirements and document your compliance so that this issue never arises. 

Contact an Experienced Kansas and Missouri Licensing Attorney Now

You have worked too hard to attain your social work license to lose it because you failed to adequately document your compliance with continuing education requirements or some other housekeeping issue.  An inquiry from a licensing board regarding your professional actions and decisions means that your livelihood as a social worker is in jeopardy. As the investigation progresses, you will need help in gathering and organizing evidence, hiring expert witnesses, cross-examining witnesses, among other tasks.  Contacting an experienced licensing attorney to help you through this process and can mean the difference between getting back to helping your clients and losing your career forever.

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is prepared to advocate for your best interests and defend you. Call Attorney Sanger at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney experienced dealing with licensing issues.