Social Workers, Counselors, MFTs

California Law and Ethics for Social Workers (18 Clock Hours)


This course meets the California pre-licensure requirement for California Law and Ethics for Social Workers (18 clock hours) for LCSWs.

Target Audience: Candidates preparing for the social work licensing exam in the state of California

Course Description: This course takes the many nuances of California law and regulation and puts them in digestible, easy-to-apply language for social workers. In addition, the text of the NASW Code of Ethics is included.

This course covers the following subject areas:

  • scope of practice
  • licensing requirements
  • unprofessional conduct
  • informed consent
  • confidentiality and privilege
  • working with minors (including child abuse reporting)
  • working with elders and dependent adults
  • business and marketing
  • technology
  • NASW Code of Ethics
  • BBS Uniform Standards Related to Substance Abuse and Disciplinary Guidelines
  • brochure Professional Therapy Never Includes Sex

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the scope of practice for social workers
  • List the licensing requirements for social workers
  • List the actions that constitute unprofessional conduct for social workers
  • Describe the requirements for informed consent and issues related to disclosure
  • Analyze the principles underlying confidentiality and privilege and distinguish between them
  • Analyze key laws related to the treatment of minors
  • Analyze key laws related to the treatment of elder and dependent adults
  • Analyze the legal requirements for advertising services
  • Analyze the legal requirements for telehealth
  • Describe core values on which social work’s mission is based
  • Summarize the broad ethical principles that reflect the profession’s core values and a set of specific ethical standards that should be used to guide social work practice
  • Describe relevant considerations when professional obligations conflict or ethical uncertainties arise
  • Describe ethical standards to which the general public can hold the social work profession accountable
  • Describe standards that the social work profession itself can use to assess whether social workers have engaged in unethical conduct

Course Components:

  • Textbook (NOT included, must be purchased separately by participant)
    - Required textbook: Caldwell, B. E. (2020). Basics of California Law for LMFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs. Los Angeles, CA: Ben Caldwell Labs.
    - Available at author's website (see below), Amazon, etc.
  • Online text: NASW Code of Ethics, BBS Uniform Standards Related to Substance Abuse and Disciplinary Guidelines, Professional Therapy Never Includes Sex (included)
  • Multiple choice online exam (included)
  • Electronic certificate of completion (free)

We allow you to obtain the textbook on your own to afford you greater flexibility. You can borrow from the library or a friend, or purchase a new or used copy for yourself or with a group of friends(Available at author's website: Click Here)

Course Credit(s): 18 CE Credits or Hours

Course Format: Book-Based and Online Text (format of this course is noninteractive)

Course Schedule: Self-paced

Course Author(s): Benjamin E. Caldwell, PsyD, LMFT

Content Publisher(s): Ben Caldwell Labs, National Association of Social Workers, California Department of Consumer Affairs, and California Board of Behavioral Sciences

Course Author(s) Qualifications:

Dr. Caldwell is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an Adjunct Professor at California State University Northridge and at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. He has spent more than 10 years doing policy work in the mental health professions, including several years as chair of the Legislative and Advocacy Committee for the California Division of AAMFT. 

Course Level: Beginning/Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced

CEmobile, LLC, #1558, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. CEmobile, LLC maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 5/2/2021-5/2/2024. ASWB Approval Period: 5/2/2018-5/2/2021. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits.
Social workers participating in this course will receive 18 social work ethics continuing education clock hours.

Reminder: The information presented in this course is for informational purposes only and is not meant to serve as ethical or legal advice. For ethical or legal advice, please contact a professional organization, state licensing board, or attorney.

The following are California BBS-recognized approval agencies:
Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)
National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)

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