Social Work Title Protection Information

HB 332, sponsored by Representative Dr. Charles Portwood, R-92,  sought to establish title protection for the word "social worker" or any form of it.  This reserves the title "social worker" for only those with a bachelors, masters, or Ph.D. in social work or a license.  Governor Bob Holden signed this bill into law on July 11, 2003.  Government entities, public or private agencies, and organizations have until January 1, 2004, to change all of their employment or volunteer positions, documents, manuals, contract, and reference materials in order to comply with the law.  Positions with the word "social worker" in the title may only employ a person with a social work degree or license.  If that position is appropriate for another discipline, then the title must be changed.  This legislation also applies to media sources.  If news channels, newspapers, etc., misuse the title "social worker," then a complaint could be filed.

Title protection benefits everyone.  Social workers will receive the recognition they deserve for their education and licensure, the public becomes more aware of the value of social work, and clients will be assured that their social worker has the training to stand behind the title.

Violation of the title protection law is a Class B Misdemeanor.  A Class B Misdemeanor has a penalty of:
1.   fine not to exceed $2,000.00;
2.   confinement in jail not to exceed 180 days; or
3.   both fine and confinement.

It will take the full support of our membership to be sure this law is monitored.  We want to educate the public regarding the new law.  If you know of a violation, please contact the Chapter Office so we may investigate.  The State Committee for Social Work and NASW-Missouri will be working very closely together to be sure the law is enforced.  

Read a Summary of the Bill Here

Read the full text of HB 332 Here

If you have any further questions regarding this law, please contact NASW-Missouri at 573-635-6965 or e-mail:  

You may also contact the State Committee for Social Work at 573-751-0885 or e-mail: