The Board of Registration of Social Workers is authorized by state law to investigate consumer complaints filed against social workers, and to issue sanctions when there is evidence of a violation of laws, regulations, or standards of conduct that pose a risk to the public. Social worker complaints are specifically handled by the Division of Professional Licensure, which is an agency within the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. When a new complaint is filed against a social worker, the Board staff will conduct an initial assessment of the allegations to determine if there is any potential violation of the law, and if the complaint falls within the purview of the Board’s jurisdiction. If it is determined that an investigation is warranted, an Investigator will be assigned to the matter, and the social worker will be asked to prepare a written response to the complaint. The Investigator will also request the production of certain documents, and may seek to interview the social worker and other appropriate individuals. Ultimately, the Investigator will report his/her findings to the Board, which will decide to either close the complaint or recommend that the social worker be disciplined. At that point in time, the social worker may choose to resolve the case and accept a negotiated discipline, or instead opt for a full administrative hearing.
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