In October 2020, the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners voted unanimously to remove language prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability from the Texas Social Work Code of Conduct, on the recommendation of the Texas Governor’s Office.
Dr. Karina Gil, director of the Worden School of Social Service at Our Lady of the Lake University, said that the changes were initially rushed through without consultation.
“When they met they briefly talked about this,” Gil said. “When I say briefly, I mean that it was less than a minute long.”
Gil said that the existing code in Texas, which is over 10 years old, was in line with national values.
“There was no reason for them to be changing the language, especially for a profession with a mission of advancing social and economic justice and being the voice of vulnerable populations,” Gil said.
According to Gil, the changes to the code would have had widespread negative effects.
“It would have allowed for discrimination,” Gil said.
When the changes were announced, the Worden School joined the backlash from social workers across America by issuing a statement unequivocally condemning the changes.
“Fortunately, social workers in Texas and other social workers across America organized themselves, showed up to the second meeting, provided a lot of statements, and worked together with other groups,” Gil said.
Gil encourages social workers to remain aware of the regulations of their profession.
“I think social workers have to always be mindful and be on the look for all these changes, for all these curveballs that are thrown,” Gil said.
For more information on the field of social work in Texas, visit naswtx.org.