Due to the critical and unique nature of the work that social workers provide, and the obvious need for these highly qualified professionals, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has established a specialized certification for social workers who work within school settings (22 Pa. Code §49.13(b)(10)). This certification will set a clear standard of who can provide social work services to school districts.
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Evolution of Social Work in Pennsylvania
Today’s school setting varies greatly from the 80s and 90s, and even pre-Covid times, where school districts are challenged more than ever to provide for their students’ emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. Aside from dealing with daily interaction, identification, and intervention, Pennsylvania school districts are also dealing with unprecedented issues:
- Clinical anxiety and depression among youth that has doubled during the pandemic;
- LGBTQ+ rights; and
- School safety
Community and school stressors have multiplied and grown more complex, underscoring the necessity of a social worker for the student population. Social work has evolved to providing crisis and mental health services to students, participating as a pupil personnel team member, and supporting specials needs through Individual Education Programs (IEPs), and acting as a bridge between home and school assisting families and education school personnel.
If you are a social worker that works closely with the Pennsylvania school system, contact MBM Law to discuss how the changes to the laws affect your social work certifications.
New Specialized Certification for Social Workers in Pennsylvania
Currently employed social workers in PA must obtain specialized certification to be employed within a school district and are not grandfathered under the new law. This requires that all Pennsylvania social workers who are licensed as LSW, LCSW, or a PA Home in School Visitor Certificate must now apply to receive a school social worker certificate. The requirements are as follows:
- Currently licensed through the Pennsylvania Department of State as a LSW or LCSW;
- Currently employed by a local educational agency (LEA) in the commonwealth; and
- Have completed at least one year of satisfactory service as a School Social Worker or other titled position providing social work-related services in a Commonwealth LEA within the prior two years.
If you have additional questions about the new social worker requirements and certifications for social workers in Pennsylvania, you can email MBM Law:
Specialized Social Worker Certification Deadline in PA
The deadline to obtain new specialized Certification for Pennsylvania School social workers and remain employed is AUGUST 1, 2023. However, an emergency permit can be issued if the LSW or the LCSW is enrolled in a Pennsylvania Department of Education approved program.
MBM Law’s Education Attorneys
The Education Attorneys of the MBM Law Firm are an experienced team that will help keep your Pennsylvania school in compliance with the new social worker requirements.