AUSTIN, Texas — Texas officials are facing backlash after deciding to allow social workers to turn away clients on the basis of their disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
At the direction of the governor’s office, the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners voted unanimously to eliminate disability, sexual orientation and gender identity from the nondiscrimination clause of the code of conduct. The board made the decision during a joint meeting Monday with the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council, which oversees regulatory agencies for professions related to mental health.
The National Association of Social Workers criticized the board’s decision to follow the governor’s recommendation rather than seek public comment.
Will Francis, director of the association’s Texas chapter, told the board during public comments that their decision was “incredibly disheartening.”
Abbott’s office said the change was made simply to align the rules with the state’s Occupations Code, which determines how and when the state may discipline social workers.