Originally posted 14 Oct 2020
Texas social workers are criticizing a state regulatory board’s decision this week to remove protections for LGBTQ clients and clients with disabilities who seek social work services.
The Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners voted unanimously Monday to change a section of its code of conduct that establishes when a social worker may refuse to serve someone. The code will no longer prohibit social workers from turning away clients on the basis of disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s office recommended the change, board members said, because the code’s nondiscrimination protections went beyond protections laid out in the state law that governs how and when the state may discipline social workers.
“It’s not surprising that a board would align its rules with statutes passed by the Legislature,” said Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze. A state law passed last year gave the governor’s office more control over rules governing state-licensed professions.
The nondiscrimination policy change drew immediate criticism from a professional association. Will Francis, executive director of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, called it “incredibly disheartening.”
He also criticized board members for removing the nondiscrimination protections without input from the social workers they license and oversee.
Note: All psychotherapy services are founded on the principle of beneficence: the desire to help others and do right by them. This decision from the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners is terrifyingly unethical. The unanimous decision demonstrates the highest levels of incompetence and bigotry.