NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 4, 2013

Supreme Court rules against former Port social worker

(Continued)

In April, she opened an office in Newburyport about 100 yards from where the man worked. He became alarmed and called police, who contacted the Board of Registration of Social Workers. A few months later, the board made its decision to suspend her license.

Clark appealed the decision on several grounds, among them that she did not provide “social work services” to the man because she did not “treat” him. She also argued that there were conflicts between state law and social work regulations, and that the board’s decision was not based on substantive evidence.

The Supreme Court dismissed Clark’s arguments, although it agreed with a point she made regarding the board’s procedures. A hearing officer for the board issued a “tentative decision” that did not recommend any particular punishment. Later, the board issued the five-year suspension. Clark argued that she was entitled to a separate hearing on the sanctions.

The court determined that “Although we conclude that there was no due process violation, we encourage the board, as did the single justice, to modify its procedures regarding the manner in which sanctions are addressed.”

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