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Consumer Protection Information

The Oregon State Board of Licensed Social Workers (Board) is the oversight regulatory agency responsible for licensing, regulating & disciplining regulated social workers in Oregon and is governed by the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) Chapters 675 & 676; as well as Oregon Administrative Rule(s) (OAR), Chapter 877, respectively. 
The Board is responsible for conducting investigations into allegations of misconduct, ethical complaints, background investigations, unlicensed practice, etc., against licensees and applicants as part of the Board’s public protection designation & authority.  The Board’s Compliance unit is comprised of a Senior Compliance Specialist who oversees the investigations, a Compliance Investigator responsible for conducting & completing assigned investigations, & a Contract Investigator to assist on the backlog of cases.
The Board accepts written complaints from individuals who have concerns regarding the conduct of licensees.  In accordance with ORS 676.175, all information supplied to the Board pertaining to complaints are strictly held confidential & can be disclosed only to the extent necessary for the Board to conduct its investigation.  The identity of complainants cannot be disclosed & is strictly protected by law & the Board enforcing it.  Confidentiality provisions also mean that, after a complaint is filed, the Board can only confirm to a complainant whether the complaint investigation is still ongoing, but cannot provide specific status or progress updates. 
Once an investigation is complete by the assigned Investigator, the case is presented to the Consumer Protection Committee (CPC) of the Board in an Executive Session meeting, which is not open to the public.  The CPC then provides a consensus to the full Board as to how the case may be adjudicated.  The Board members vote on the case disposition during the Public Session portion of a scheduled Board meeting.
As a complainant, the Board will inform you in writing of the outcome once the investigation has been resolved by the Board.  If discipline results, that disciplinary action is public information & any individual may request a copy of the Board’s Order(s) issued in the case.  If the Board voted to close or dismiss the investigation, the only information that can be provided is a written notice to the complainant that there was a dismissal or closure.
The Investigation process can take some time, though the Compliance Staff moves as quickly as possible while honoring the need to be thorough, consistent & fair.  Due to the current open case load & Board resources, investigation cases can take on average, up to nine (9) months to complete & present to the Board for review & action.  Board Compliance Staff apologize for this & appreciates your cooperation & patience during the process.  Board Compliance Staff review & investigate each complaint filed within the jurisdiction of the Board.
Please download a CONSUMER PROTECTION COMPLAINT PACKET or request a hard copy packet from the Board at:
            State of Oregon, Board of Licensed Social Workers
            Attention:  COMPLIANCE DIVISION
            3218 Pringle Road S., Suite #240
            Salem, OR 97302-6310
Please be as specific & thorough as possible in detailing for the Board, the exact ways in which you believe the licensee has violated one or more of the Board’s laws or Rules.  Please identify people & provide copies of records that verify your complaint. 

Please review Division 30 (Code of Ethics) and Division 40 (Complaint Procedures) carefully. It is very helpful to the Consumer Protection Committee if you can cite the specific Administrative Rule that you feel has been violated.

In 1997, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 235 (Chapter 791) which became law and took effect on October 4, 1997. From this date forward, all information supplied to the Board pertaining to complaints is now held confidential and cannot be disclosed to the public. This law is ORS 676.160-676.180.
In the past, the Board sent a copy of the complaint to the LCSW requesting a response within 30 days. When that response was received, a copy was sent to you, the complainant. The Board has modified this procedure to comply with the confidentiality requirements of this new law. Therefore, the Board can only provide a limited amount of information about the complaint and the progress of the investigation. However, if the Board needs further information to resolve the complaint, a representative of the Board will contact you directly.
If there are other individuals who might have knowledge of the situation about which you are complaining, please obtain an Authorization to Release Confidential Information from each of them. Make additional copies of the forms as needed.
Contact the Board office with any questions about these procedures.

Disciplinary Information
Historic Disciplinary Action Document
This document provides a synopsis of every public disciplinary action taken by the Board of Licensed Social Workers during the last five years. In chronological order, the document lists the name and license number of the person disciplined. Following each name, the document provides a brief identification of the circumstance(s) raised in the complaint, the Statute(s) or Rule(s) that were violated, and the specific disciplinary action(s) taken by the Board. 
Historical Disciplinary Actions Report is a public document. If you wish to receive hard copies of the full text of the Final Orders listed on the report, please use the directory verification which allows you to electronically access that information. Alternatively, you may contact the board office as indicated below:
            3218 Pringle Road SE, Suite #240
            Salem, OR  97302-6310
            Phone:  (503) 378-5735
            Fax:  (503)373-1427
            Toll Free:  1-866-355-7050

Frequently Asked Questions
Who are LCSWs, CSWAs, LMSWs, and RBSWs?
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) are mental health professionals licensed by the State of Oregon who are trained to help individuals, groups, families and organizations. LCSWs can help you deal with emotional problems and help you resolve conflicts or problems relating to others at home, at work, in school and in the world around you.
Certified Social Work Associates (CSWAs) are mental health professionals working towards licensure.  CSWAs are required to undergo two years of supervision before they can apply for LCSW status.
Licensed Master's Social Workers (LMSW) are mental health professionals who practice non-clinical social work who have obtained a Master of Social Work degree.
Registered Baccalaureate Social Workers (RBSW) are mental health professionals who practice non-clinical social work and who have obtained a Bachelor's degree in Social Work.

What is the Oregon State Board of Licensed Social Workers?
The Legislature established the Oregon State Board of Licensed Social Workers to protect the public by assuring the qualifications and professionalism of Licensed Clinical Social Workers. The volunteer seven-member Board, appointed by the governor, is charged with establishing standards for licensing; identifying individuals meeting those standards; and administering licensing examinations. The Board also is charged with developing and enforcing ethical standards for licensed individuals; investigating complaints; and disciplining licensed individuals who violate ethical standards, Board rules or state licensing laws.

How can the Board help protect me?
The Board protects you by assuring that Licensed Clinical Social Workers and CSWAs meet national standards regarding their qualifications, knowledge and experience before certification and licensing. The Board also investigates complaints made by members of the public regarding possible abuses by Licensed Clinical Social Workers and by Clinical Social Work Associates. The Board disciplines Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Associates when a violation has occurred. The Board requires Licensed Clinical Social Workers to maintain their skills and update their knowledge with continuing education in the field of Clinical social work.

How do I check a social worker's qualifications?
When selecting a social worker, you may want to call the State Board of Licensed Social Workers at (503) 378-5735. Not all social workers in Oregon have a license, but only licensed social workers may call themselves Licensed Clinical Social Workers or Clinical Social Work Associates (CSWAs). The Board can tell you whether a social worker is under the Board's jurisdiction. Licensing is your assurance that the social worker has met the education, experience and examination requirements for professional practice established by Oregon law. The Board also can tell you if the individual´s license is current and whether a Licensed Clinical Social Worker has been disciplined for violating professional standards of conduct.

What are my rights as a client?
You have the right to professional and ethical treatment regardless of your age, sex, race, color, national origin or disability. You have the right to a clear description of services, fees and how you (and your insurer) will be billed. Client records and communications are confidential and, subject to few exceptions, may not be released by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker without the client's consent.

What if I have a complaint?
You should file a written complaint if a Licensed Clinical Social Worker or Clinical Social Work Associate has:  
  • Abused or mistreated you or any client in any way, verbally, financially or sexually.
  • Lied to or misled you or any client in the provision of services or billing.
  • Treated you or any client while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Released information without your consent.
  • Been negligent in your treatment or in the treatment of any client.
  • Shown an inability to practice safely and competently for any reason.