Hold social workers to professional standards

As a former low level employee of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services and a Maryland licensed social worker, I commend you for reporting the state auditors' concerns with Molly McGrath Tierney (“State prosecutors investigating whether ex-Baltimore Social Services chief properly placed foster babies,” Sept. 14).

Maryland citizens pay to support a Board of Social Work charged with initial licensing and license renewal for professional social workers. Along with initial vetting for licensees (including verification of education and supervised practice) are subscription to a code of ethics, requirements for continuing education courses including periodic courses on ethics, and disciplinary action for social workers found to have violated the terms of their licensure.

While licensure is admittedly no ironclad guarantee of quality, it would seem to address the issue of individuals such as Ms. Tierney who feel that their business connections and their seat-of-the-pants reasoning are superior to the careful and deliberate practice of professionally trained and licensed social workers.

The taxpayers have paid for a board to oversee social work practice. Why on earth then would an unlicensed individual be selected to head a social work agency?

Hazel Laing, Baltimore

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