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Social Worker's License Suspended for Deceptive Advertising
October 30, 2020
LANSING – Following multiple reports of misrepresentation and deceit, a woman has had her limited social work license suspended, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) announced today.
Josephine Audre Benson, a/k/a Emily Clark, is a limited licensed social worker in Michigan, which requires her to work under the supervision of a fully licensed social worker and limit her practice to specific board-approved entities.
However, LARA has received allegations that she was advertising services as a private practice provider, without any supervision. On Oct. 21, LARA approved a summary suspension of Benson’s license.
“Michigan’s licensing laws provide the public with assurances that these professionals possess the appropriate training and education to practice in their fields, and that they are licensed by the state to function in those official capacities,” Nessel said. “LARA has acted appropriately to suspend this license pending the administrative process, and I am committed to supporting them in this effort.”
“We count on our licensees to interact with the public with honesty and integrity,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “When they don’t, we must move quickly to make sure that the public is protected from those who don’t follow the law.”
Michigan is not the only state in which Benson has made misrepresentations about her social work licensing. In 2015 – then going by her given name, Emily Clark – Benson received certification as a social work associate in Oregon. The Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers later received complaints of Benson’s deceitful advertising and, in December 2019, it required her to surrender her certification and withdraw a pending application for full licensure.
Benson applied for a limited social work license in Michigan under her given name, Emily Clark, and received the license in March 2020. The following month, she informed the state that she had legally changed her name to Josephine Benson. However, the LARA has since received complaints that Benson was advertising herself on social media as a private practice social worker. She has also falsely claimed to have a master’s degree in neuroscience from Harvard University, though she never attended the school.
Benson has 30 days from when the order was served to respond and may request dissolution of the suspension, which would entitle her to an expedited hearing.