NASW-IL Advocacy At Work: HB2394 Passes, Addressing Licensure Processing Delays
New bill addresses significant delays in processing first-time applicants/reinstatements by social workers and awaits governors signature
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Springfield, IL—The National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter (NASW-IL) expresses heartfelt gratitude to the governor, the esteemed members of the Illinois General Assembly, and the secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) for their collaborative efforts in successfully passing HB2394 during this veto session.
First-time and reinstating social work licensees have been experiencing licensure processing delays as long as 6 months by the department. This extended wait time has been slowing down the pipeline of new social workers to the profession, heightening challenges to those in Illinois seeking access to mental health professionals. The passage of HB2394 not only enables emergency rulemaking to address these delays, but it also introduces a streamlined procurement process for new software, a crucial step toward ensuring faster licensure and, consequently, a more robust workforce to facilitate increased accessibility to mental health services for the residents of Illinois.
Witnessing such a swift turnaround from a legislative hearing to a solution in state government is rare, underscoring the stakeholders' determination to tackle the difficulties that fully qualified professionals encounter in obtaining licensure. Issues were identified, meetings were convened, and solutions with performance benchmarks were proposed and passed—this exemplifies government at its best. NASW-IL extends its appreciation to House Health Care Licensing Committee Chair Bob Morgan and the entire bipartisan work of that committee for prioritizing this critical fix.
Anticipating the positive impact of this legislation on the mental health landscape in Illinois, NASW-IL looks forward to witnessing the tangible benefits resulting from the collaborative efforts that have made this achievement possible.
What this means for Illinois social workers:
The department has instructed the Illinois General Assembly that they plan to immediately utilize the special powers granted in this bill which will result in some professions having their license renewal dates flexed into the future. We do not anticipate this will include social workers currently in the renewal cycle ending on November 30, 2023; however, if that changes, we will notify our members.
By shifting renewal dates of particular professions, the department can immediately free up staff dedicated to renewals to address the backlog in applications and reinstatements. Prioritizing getting fully qualified social workers licensed in Illinois has been a major advocacy effort of the chapter for the past 6 months, and we are glad the department is prioritizing this backlog.
The bill also sets a 3-month request for proposal (RFP) and a 3-month implementation timeframe for the department to review, approve, and install a new system which would automate numerous functions of applications and renewals, thereby dramatically reducing application times to less than a few weeks.
We will have more information on the status and changes to that process as information is made available.
For more about NASW-Illinois Chapter's legislative efforts, please visit the chapter "News" tab and click on the "Advocacy" sub-tab. Here you’ll find all of our latest advocacy news and updates.
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.