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Case of Ohio sex offender underscores need for title protection

Amber Marie Harris in court. Photo courtesy of WFIE Channel 14.

Amber Marie Harris in court. Photo courtesy of WFIE Channel 14.

Jeers to WFIE Channel 14 in Evansville, Ind. for a headline that describes convicted sex offender Amber Marie Harris as a social worker.

Harris had sex with three teenage boys being held at the Butler County Juvenile Rehabilitation Center in Ohio. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail after admitting the crime.

The online article’s headline said, “Social worker jailed after admitting to sex with juvenile delinquents.”

Harris is not an educated and licensed social worker. She is a licensed professional counselor, said Danielle Smith, MSW, MA, LSW, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers’ Ohio Chapter.

However, Ohio has an exemption in its social work title protection law that allows civil service settings such as jails to give employees the social work title even if they are not educated and licensed social workers, Smith said. Lawmakers have introduced H.B. 232 to close this loophole, she said.


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  1. FYI: HB 232 in Ohio passed in 2014.

  2. Maybe part of the solution here is to educate the public about the difference between an LPC and a LCSW. Question: last time I checked (years ago) Medicare reimbursed only LCSW’s for counseling, because of their bio-psycho-social orientation. Is that still the case?

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