Amendments of the Social Worker Act
The amendment issue brought about by the controversy mentioned in the last chapter triggered the question 'Who is dominating Taiwan's social work education?' along with a series of actions15 that accelerated amendment of the Social Worker Act.
In 2005, the Ministry of the Interior commissioned the Taiwan Association of Social Workers, the Taiwan Association of Medical Social Work, the National Union, and the Taiwan Society of Mental Health Social Work to project-manage the drafting of the Social Work Act amendments.16 According to the draft submitted to the Ministry of the Interior, it is hoped that quality of services and professional competence will increase and the rights of both worker and service target can be assured through controlling candidates' qualifications and broadening the aspects of service, securing working conditions and the compilation of the according penal code (TASW, 2005). The procedure to amend the Social Worker Act was scheduled as follows: (1) organize the task force to gather information, (2) analyze the findings, and (3) organize public hearings. Once the public hearings had been held, social worker communities would be invited to share their feedback and come to a consensus on the proposed amendments.
Ideas for the amendments originated from Taiwanese laws regarding lawyers, accounting, psychology, occupational therapy, and nursing; social work law from New York State, California, and British Columbia, Canada; the definition of social work/social work practices from NASW, BASW, IFSW, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Hong Kong; the operational details of California, British Columbia, and the Social Worker Registration Board of New York State.
Regarding the establishment of a Social Worker Classification System, the classification systems of British Columbia, New York State, Texas, and the NASW in the United States were referred to along with those of specialists, nurse
13 See Hsiao Hsin Bing (2006), 'Formation of Consensus or Setback for Imagination? An Inspection of Professional Sociology Regarding the Social Work Issue in the Society', master's thesis, Tsinghua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.
14 Cf., e.g., the demonstration led by Lin Wan Yi, Lu Pao Ching, and Chen Wu
Tsung, who requested installation of a Social Work Education Board; in June 2004 the Social Worker Department of the National Taiwan University held the 'Competence of Social Workers and Social Work Education' seminar; the 'Diagnosis of Taiwan's Social Work Profession Education' public hearing was held during August 2004; seven sessions of 'Seminar of the Examination, Training and Employment System of Professional Social Workers' were held in 2004 by the Taiwan Social Worker Association.
15 Also referred to as the four families. practitioners, social workers, and laws regarding the professional behaviour of other professionals, for example, lawyers, psychologists, and so on in British Columbia, and California.
As to the practice regulations, the professional social worker regulations of British Columbia and operational details governing clinical social work in California were discussed.
The necessary tasks were divided between the four professional organizations:
• The Taiwan Association of Medical Social Work was responsible for managing the scope of the exercise, defining 'professional' social worker and assuring the rights of social workers;
• The Taiwan Association of Social Workers was responsible for
qualifications, both the obtaining and withdrawal of;
• The National Union was in charge of the inspection mechanism and
• The Taiwan Society of Mental Health Social Work was responsible for task scoping.
Situations that the four groups expected after the amendments would be
• Regulations being made to introduce specialized professional social
workers, to provide services in specific areas;
• Professional, continuing education, which would enable social workers to
provide specified services to a professional standard; and
• The expansion of an exemption list for the post-filling of social workers can ensure the rights of both clients and social workers, including their personal safety.
The four professional organizations contributed a final draft of the amendment that was proposed and underwent a series of legislative negotiations and consultations before passing the third reading on 19 December 2007, and the new Social Worker Act was inaugurated.