Skip Navigation LinksAFL-20-29

State of Cal Logo

State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health

AFL 20-29
March 26, 2020

Adult Day Health Centers (ADHC)
Home Health Agencies (HHA)
Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF)
Intermediate Care Facilities/Developmentally Disabled (ICF/DD)
Referral Agencies

Regulatory Update for Social Worker Definition and Services

AUTHORITY:     Title 22 California Code of Regulations (CCR) sections 73103, 7344974023, 74653, 74713, 76149, 78097, and 78339

​All Facilities Letter (AFL) Summary

This AFL informs ADHCs, ICFs, ICF/DDs, HHAs, and referral agencies of updated regulations, effective April 1, 2020. The updated regulations define "social worker," including the "services" a social worker can provide.

The revised regulations defining social worker for ADHCs, ICFs, ICF/DDs, HHAs, and referral agencies take effect April 1, 2020. Please take note of the changes and update any facility/entity policies and procedures as appropriate.

Definition for Social Worker
The definition of "social worker" has been updated to include not only a clinical social worker licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences, but also a person who has a Master of Social Work degree from a school of social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and has one year of social work experience in a health care setting.
For ADHCs only, a social worker also includes a person who:

  • holds a master's degree in psychology, gerontology, or counseling from an accredited school and has one year of experience providing social services in one or more of the fields of aging, health, or long-term care services; or
  • holds a bachelor's degree in social work from an accredited school with two years of experience providing social services in one or more of the fields of aging, health, or long-term care services

Services Social Workers Can Perform
For ADHCs, HHAs, and ICFs, the regulations outlining the services a social worker can perform have been updated to specify an unlicensed social worker shall only provide those social work services for which no license is required under Business and Professions Code section 4996.

Facilities are responsible for following all applicable laws. The California Department of Public Health's failure to expressly notify facilities of statutory or regulatory requirements does not relieve facilities of their responsibility to follow all laws and regulations. Facilities should refer to the full text of all applicable sections of the Health and Safety Code and Title 22 CCR.

If you have questions about the content of this AFL, please contact your local district office.



Original signed by Heidi W. Steinecker

Heidi W. Steinecker
Deputy Director

Page Last Updated :