Iowa Board of Social Work - Complaints

Complaint Process

The professional licensing board has the authority to license and regulate the professionals under its jurisdiction. Protection of the public is the boards' primary responsibility. Complaints are a method of informing the board about a professional's action. A uniform complaint procedure assures consistency in processing complaints. It also assures confidentiality, efficiency and accountability.

    Complaints can be filed in one of the following ways:

  • Persons wishing to file a complaint can open the Complaint form below, enter information into the highlighted fields, print the form, sign and mail to the licensure office, or
  • Persons calling in with a specific complaint will be asked if they wish to file a written complaint. If the person chooses to file a complaint, a complaint form and pre-addressed envelope stamped "confidential" will be mailed to them. The office accepts only written complaints.

Upon receipt of the complaint in the board office, the Bureau Chief opens the envelope, reviews, prioritizes the complaint and gives it to an administrative assistant. The administrative assistant will send a letter to the complainant acknowledging that the complaint has been received and that it has been given to the board for action. The letter states that another letter will follow regarding the board's decision.

All complaints received are acted on. All staff are bound by confidentiality.

How a Complaint is Processed

Anyone may file a complaint against a licensee by filling out the complaint form found here. Complete the form with as much detail as necessary.

The Bureau of Professional Licensure receives complaints for nineteen regulatory boards. It is important to understand the investigation of a complaint is a lengthy process and in some cases may take up to a year.

Under Iowa law board members are not allowed to discuss the complaint with anyone. If you have questions it is best to contact the board administrator for direction.

All complaints received in the office are given a case number and are treated as confidential even to the person complaining and the licensee.

A letter of receipt is mailed to the person filing the complaint.

All complaints needing investigation are referred to the Department of Inspections and Appeals. The Department of Inspections and Appeals completes an investigative report for review and evaluation by the appropriate board.

After reviewing the investigation, the Board may decide to:

  • Close the case;
  • Close the case by writing a confidential letter of education to the licensee;
  • Make a probable cause determination and proceed to a Statement of Charges against the licensee.

Statement of Charges are available to the public upon request. Prior to the Statement of Charges the Board can not acknowledge that a complaint has been filed. A formal hearing before the Board of Examiners or settlement agreement follows the statement of charges. The Board issues a decision following the hearing. Decisions and settlement agreements are available to the public upon request.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I file a complaint?

Down load the complaint form found above, complete and mail into the Bureau of Professional Licensure.

Will the licensee know I have filed a complaint against them?

The complaint is confidential after it is received in our office. No one will receive information regarding it. The licensee is interviewed during the investigation. The questioning may lead the licensee to determine who filed the complaint.

Will I have to testify against the licensee?

If the Board determines that there is probable cause for violation of board code or administrative rules you maybe asked to testify at the formal hearing.

Why does it take so long for my complaint to be investigated?

It is important to do a thorough investigation this often involves interviewing numbers of persons and obtaining documents. Two investigators conduct the investigations for the boards. They work as fast as possible to complete the cases.