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  • NASW-IL Staff

HB 5457 passes out of IL Senate, providing reasonable accommodations during licensing exams for those whose primary language is not English

IL State Senator Karina Villa

NASW-Illinois Chapter membership helps us to push for legislation that benefit Illinois social workers and the clients they serve. As the largest membership association in Illinois advocating on behalf of social workers, consider adding your voice to our efforts and join/renew your NASW membership today.


Thank you to Illinois Senator Karina Villa who was able to pass House Bill 5457 (HB5457) last week in the Illinois Senate. An initiative of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois (CBHA) and the NASW-Illinois Chapter, it was also a featured bill at this year's 2024 NASW-Illinois Chapter Advocacy Day. HB 5457 would require that reasonable accommodations be made during licensing exams—such as the testing exams for social work in Illinois—for individuals whose primary language is not English.


Reprinted from Senator Villa's website:


SPRINGFIELD—A measure championed by State Senator Karina Villa that would secure reasonable accommodations during licensing exams for individuals whose primary language is not English passed the Senate on Thursday.


“More than ever, our communities are in need of behavioral health professionals who can communicate with clients in different languages,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Empowering more bilingual individuals to pursue these professions will help improve the quality of care provided across the state.”


House Bill 5457 would codify accommodations that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is required to provide under the Americans with Disabilities Act for individuals whose primary language is not English. The measure would apply to licensure exams for social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors.


According to the Behavioral Health and Economics Network, over 4.8 million Illinois residents live in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area with only 13.8 behavioral health care professionals per every 10,000 residents.


“The need for more behavioral health professionals is clear,” said Villa. “By removing language barriers for licensure, we are ensuring that more qualified individuals are able to provide services to individuals in need.”


House Bill 5457 passed the Senate last Thursday.


For more advocacy-related news from the NASW-Illinois Chapter, visit the "Advocacy" sub-tab on our "News" page. Or check out our Bill Tracker which shows all of the bills the NASW-Illinois Chapter is tracking for the current Illinois legislative session.

 

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with over 120,000 members. The NASW-Illinois Chapter is one of the association's largest chapters representing over 20,000 licensed Illinois social workers and school social workers, with over 5,000 active members. NASW strives to advance social work careers, grow social work businesses, and protect the profession.

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