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March 4, 2024

Legislation to Boost Behavioral Health Care Workforce Passes House

DENVER, CO – The House today passed legislation sponsored by Representatives Emily Sirota and Matthew Martinez to expand access to behavioral health care in Colorado. HB24-1002 passed by a vote of 61 to 3.

“With this bill, we’re boosting Colorado’s behavioral health care workforce,” said Rep. Emily Siorta, D-Denver. “Social workers are critical to the success of our state’s overall behavioral health care system, and we must do everything we can to attract and retain these skilled professionals. By creating a social work licensure compact, already licensed social workers can begin practicing in Colorado more quickly to give Coloradans the whole-person behavioral healthcare they need and deserve.” 

“We need to use every tool available to us to improve behavioral health care access for Coloradans,” said Rep. Matthew Martinez, D-Monte Vista. “This bill would make it easier for licensed social workers in participating states to begin working in Colorado, which is particularly helpful for military spouses who often relocate. This bill removes barriers to entering Colorado’s behavioral health care workforce and helps streamline care for Coloradans across the state.” 

HB24-1002 would create new pathways for out-of-state social workers to gain professional licensure to practice in Colorado. This bill creates the "Social Work Licensure Compact", which creates an agreement between Colorado and six other states where licensed social workers in member states can obtain and easily transfer a license from another member state. 

This legislation aims to reduce barriers for social workers by easing the state-to-state licensure process and increasing behavioral health care access in Colorado.  The “Social Work Licensure Compact" would be particularly helpful for active military and military spouses who often relocate from state-to-state, and to increase the number of providers to engage in meaningful behavioral health care for Coloradans. 

Colorado lawmakers have championed nine mobility compact laws over the years, including last year’s HB23-1064 to address Colorado’s teacher shortage. 

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