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Complaint / Disciplinary Process

Complaint/Disciplinary Process

Please read the information below before filing your complaint. To download the complaint form, click here. Please refer to the NC Administrative Code, Ethical Guidelines when completing the Complaint Form.

General Information:

The profession of social work encompasses a wide scope of practice that may or may not require certification or licensure by this Board. While clinical social work practice is protected and requires a license by this Board, nonclinical social work practice does not require a certificate or license.

Many social workers practice lawfully without being certified or licensed by this Board. Please check the License Lookup tab above to verify that the social worker is certified or licensed by this Board before initiating your complaint.

The North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board is authorized to receive and investigate complaints against individuals who are certified or licensed by this Board, and allegations of violations of Social Worker Certification and Licensure Act [Chapter 90B of the North Carolina General Statutes] and Rules [Title 21 Chapter 63 of the North Carolina Administrative Code] governing social work practice in North Carolina. A complaint form may be obtained from the Board office or printed from the link above.

The Board may initiate its own complaint and conduct an investigation of a suspected violation if reasonable cause exists to believe a violation has occurred. For questions regarding the complaint process, please contact the Board office toll free at 1-866-397-5263 or 1-800-550-7009.

Who should file a complaint?

A Complaint may be filed by anyone who believes that a social worker certified or licensed by this Board has engaged in illegal or unethical activities related to his or her professional responsibilities. [We are working toward online submission of complaints in a manner that will allow for receipt of confidential information and hope to have that function operational soon.] In the interim, complaints must be submitted in writing. Please do not email complaint as the content is considered confidential.

Mail your complaint and supporting documentation to the following address:

NCSWCLB
P.O. Box 1043
Asheboro, NC 27204.

Upon receipt, complaints will be reviewed to ensure that the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of this Board. The most effective complaints are those containing first hand, verifiable information.

The Board does not have the legal authority to withhold the identity of the complainant or anyone indentified in this complaint from the social worker.  If the outcome results in a public finding, the Board can only withhold from public disclosure the identity of any client who has not consented to the public disclosure of social work services provided to him or her by the applicant, certificate holder, or licensee.

The Complaint/Investigation Process:

Upon receipt of a complaint, the social worker is provided with a copy of the complaint or notified of the details of the allegation(s) and advised to respond. The case is referred to a Subcommittee (consisting of at least two seated Board members) and is reviewed by the Subcommittee, designated Board staff, and the Board’s attorney, if indicated. A review of the complaint and response will determine if further investigation is needed. An investigator may be assigned to gather additional information and prepare a summary report for the Board review committee, who will determine how next to proceed.

The Disciplinary Process:

The Board may, in accordance with Chapter 150B of the NC General Statutes, deny, suspend, or revoke an application, certificate or license; issue a reprimand or censure; order probation; require supervision; or otherwise limit the practice of a social worker upon proof that the applicant, certificate holder, or licensee has engaged in prohibited actions.

In cases where there is credible evidence to suggest that a violation may have occurred, the Board may seek to issue a Consent Order or schedule a disciplinary hearing and serve a notice of charges upon the individual against whom the complaint was made. Members of the Board review committee do not serve on the hearing panel for the disciplinary proceeding(s) for cases they have reviewed. In matters that proceed to a disciplinary hearing, witnesses may be called to come forward and provide testimony in support of the complaint. At the same time, the social worker under investigation, who may choose to be aided by his/her council, may present his/her evidence and defense.

Following the disciplinary hearing, or when the social worker requests to waive his/her right to a hearing in favor of a Consent Order, the Board will issue a final order.

Public Information:

Matters of complaint, the social worker’s response and information gathered in connection with the investigation of a complaint are confidential and protected from public disclosure. All final orders are public record.

Individuals who file a complaint are notified in writing of any actions taken as a result of the complaint.