Non-profit speaks out about changes to social workers examiners code

The new rule could allow social workers from turning away clients on the basis of a disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 1:28 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2020 at 11:04 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) -A Texas council has decided to change the social workers' code of conduct to something some say may leave the door open for possible discrimination.

A local organization that helps people with their mental health is sharing their thoughts on the changes.

Last Monday, the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council decided to remove a section of the Texas State Board of social work examiners code that will no longer prohibit social workers from turning away clients on the basis of a disability, sexual orientation; or gender identity.

According to the Associated Press, Governor Greg Abbott’s office suggested the change because the board’s nondiscrimination clause went beyond the state’s policy on social work.

Elizabeth Gardner, a counselor at the nonprofit organization, Pillar says, “This rule does not mean there will be discrimination, but it does mean that there will not be any disciplinary action.”

Although, Pillar is not made up of social workers.

As counselors, they say it still affects them because they follow the Texas Behavioral Executive Council.

She says this may result in unintended consequences.

Gardner says, “It is concerning to counselors and to mental health providers that this allows probable discrimination against individuals who are in need of these services.”

Gardner says most of its clients are in the LGBTQ community.

She goes on to say that the LGBTQ community is particularly exposed to and are very likely to have some mental health issues, very high rates of depression and anxiety, and this is a concern if it would actually allow people to discriminate based on gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation.

She hopes that they make a change to this at the next Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council.

Another meeting will be held on Oct. 27 where the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners and Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council will be further discussing possible action on the case.

Gardner says it’s important to let the community know about this edit and hopes to see some change after the meeting. Happens.

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