“Don’t Shame Me; Walk with Me”

The Impact of Sanctions for Social Work Licensing Violations





social work, licensing, sanctions, investigations, regulatory


Although prior research has explored the types of sanctions imposed by regulatory boards on social workers for licensing violations, empirical investigations surrounding the impact of sanctions on social workers is limited. This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of 13 licensed social workers who participated in licensing investigations and received sanctions by a state licensing board for violating state laws, rules, or ethical standards. The researchers used a phenomenological approach to analyze the interviews and identify common themes. Participants described the impact of the investigation process and sanctions on their emotional well-being, reputation, finances, and careers. They also expressed concerns about the potential impact on their clients. Participants’ recommendations for licensing boards include greater use of corrective actions rather than relying on punitive measures, avoiding suspensions, and a more strategic use of supervision and consultation.

Author Biography

Christine Spadola, Flor

Dr. Spadola is an Assistant Professor with Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.


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