Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Summarizes Notable Disciplinary Actions For Missouri Social Workers

In Missouri, the Committee for Social Workers (the Committee) regulates the social worker profession. The Committee is a state agency that falls under the authority of the Missouri Division of Professional Registration. The Committee is responsible for issuing licenses to practice social work. Additionally, the Committee is charged with the duty of investigation ethical violations allegedly committed by social workers, similar to other professional licensing boards in the state. Licensed social workers practicing in Missouri should be aware of the Committee’s authority and should be aware of the recent disciplinary decisions issued as a result of the Committee’s investigations.

To this point in 2016, the Committee resolved approximately thirteen investigatory matters by way of agreement or a full hearing and disciplinary ruling by the Committee.  In one case, the social worker provided counseling services for two minor children. The social worker commenced a romantic relationship with the children’s mother while the social worker provided counseling services. The social worker stipulated that his conduct violated Missouri’s ethical standards by violating the public trust, exploiting clients for personal gain, and engaging in behavior that rendered him impartial to his clients’ best interests. The social worker agreed to a five-year probationary period, submit to a psychiatric evaluation, and find a social worker to supervise his practice. The disciplinary action did not end with the stipulation of sanction. The Committee ruled that the social worker violated the terms of his probationary period by failing to obtain the services of a supervisory social worker. Consequently, the Committee suspended the social worker’s licensed for a term of three years or until such time as he could obtain an appropriate supervisor. Thereafter, the social worker’s license is subject to a five-year probationary period once adequate supervision is in place.

In another 2016 decision, the Committee ruled on an application to become a licensed master social worker in Missouri by a master social worker already licensed in Kansas. The applicant answered truthfully whether she was arrested. The candidate revealed that a Kansas court convicted her of theft in 2015. The Committee, instead of denying the application, ruled that she be admitted to practice in Missouri subject to a two-year probationary period. The master social worker can only practice in Missouri during that probationary period if she has adequate supervision by another master social worker admitted in Missouri.

The Committee and a licensee reached an agreement as to disciplinary action in an investigation in which the licensee failed to attend continuing education classes. Also, the licensee failed to retain records evidencing her attendance at the continuing education. The Committee took exception to the fact that the social worker misrepresented satisfying her educational requirements. The social worker and licensee agreed that she would be placed on probation for one year and provide evidence that she attended the educational courses.

Two additional agreed-upon resolutions yielded vastly different results. In one case, the Committee agreed to dismiss its complaint against the licensee, resulting in no disciplinary action against the licensee. In another instance, the licensee practiced social work without a valid license for four years. The parties agreed that the social worker should surrender her license and agree not to practice social work or apply for a license in Missouri, instead of facing additional discipline.  In another decision in 2016, the Committee did revoke the license of a social worker who defaulted at the disciplinary hearing.

Get Immediate Help If You Are A Social Worker Facing Disciplinary Action

If you are a social worker facing professional discipline in Kansas or Missouri, you need an experienced and dedicated professional licensing attorney to fight for you. Call Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation. Attorney Sanger has vast experience fighting for professional licensees. Do not trust your future to anyone else.