VOLUME 43, ISSUE 21
ISSUE DATE:NOVEMBER 7, 2011
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE BOARD OF SOCIAL WORK EXAMINERS
Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.2, 6.4, 6.5, 8.1, and 14.1
Proposed Repeal and New Rule: N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.7
Credit-Hour Requirements; Sources of Continuing Education Credits and Credit-Hour Calculations; Documentation of Continuing Education Credit; Responsibilities of Continuing Education Sponsors; Clinical Supervision; Fees
Authorized By: State Board of Social Work Examiners, J. Michael Walker, Executive Director.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:15BB-11(h).
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Proposal Number: PRN 2011-224.
Submit written comments by January 6, 2012 to:
J. Michael Walker, Executive Director
State Board of Social Work Examiners
124 Halsey Street
Newark, NJ 07101
The agency proposal follows:
The rules at N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6 set forth continuing education standards for the State Board of Social Work Examiners (the Board). The Board proposes amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.2, 6.4 and 6.5 to revise the methods by which licensees and certificate holders may complete continuing education requirements. The amendments clarify language in the rules and remove limitations on the number of credits that may be directly related to clinical practice. The amendments recognize that national social work associations offer continuing education courses and approve sponsors of continuing education courses. Licensees and certificate holders will be permitted to take courses offered by these associations to complete Board requirements. The Board is recognizing new methods of completing continuing education requirements and requiring that some existing methods of completing these requirements meet national accreditation standards. The new methods for completing continuing education requirements include: attending programs provided by institutions accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; completing coursework in academic programs; attending in-service training provided by organizations licensed by the State or by organizations accredited by national organizations; attending continuing education courses approved by other states; and attending programs approved by other State mental health professional licensing boards. The Board is increasing the number of continuing education credits a licensee or certificate holder may complete through in-service training courses from six credits in a biennial period to one-half of the credits required in a biennial period. The Board is also revising the requirements for documenting attendance at a continuing education program. Such documentation would have to include a designation as to whether the course is in clinical, ethics, cultural competency, or general social work and the number of credits awarded.
Existing N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.7 establishes a procedure by which the Board can approve continuing education courses. The Board has found that reviewing these courses is a labor-intensive process that occupies an inordinate amount of time, decreasing the Board's ability to focus on public protection issues. The Board is proposing to repeal the rule, so that it will no longer approve individual course offerings. In order to provide an opportunity for continuing education courses that are not otherwise recognized pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4 to be recognized as satisfying Board continuing education requirements, the Board proposes to add a new rule to establish a procedure by which it will recognize entities that can approve continuing education courses. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:44G-14.1 to change the title of the continuing education fee to "continuing education approval entity."
The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:44G-8.1 to reorganize the rule for clarity. The rule requires that a supervising licensed clinical social worker complete 20 credits of continuing education in post-graduate course work related to supervision. The Board proposes to amend this rule to require that these credits be taken in a course either offered by a sponsor approved by the Association of Social Work Boards or the National Association of Social Workers, or by a school approved by the Council on Social Work Education.
As the Board has provided a 60-day comment period on this notice of proposal, this notice is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5.
The proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule will have a positive social impact on licensees and certificate holders. The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.2, 6.4, and 6.5 and new rule/repeal at 6.7 create new methods for obtaining continuing education credits and clarify which courses are valid continuing education opportunities. Providing these new methods increases the opportunities for licensees and certificate holders to complete their required continuing education. The Board does not anticipate that these changes will have any other impact on society.
Permitting more credits of in-service training to be counted towards the continuing education requirements may have a beneficial impact on licensees. Licensees often receive this training as part of their employment and will therefore not have to incur the costs of courses personally. The proposed repeal and new rule at N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.7 will impose costs on entities that seek Board recognition as continuing education approvers. Such entities would be required to pay the $ 100.00 continuing education approval entity fee every year. It is likely that this cost will be covered by the fees entities charge licensees for continuing education courses. The Board does not believe that the proposed changes will have any other economic impact.
Federal Standards Statement
A Federal standards analysis is not required because the proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule are proposed pursuant to State statute and are not subject to any Federal requirements or standards.
The Board does not anticipate that the proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule will result in the loss or creation of any jobs in New Jersey.
Agriculture Industry Impact
The Board believes the proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule will have no impact upon the agriculture industry in New Jersey.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
Since the licensees and certificate holders subject to the provisions of the proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule are individually licensed or certified by the Board under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., they may be considered "small businesses" for the purposes of the Act. Entities that apply to the Board for recognition as continuing education course approvers may also be considered "small businesses" under the Act.
The costs imposed by the proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule are the same for all licensees, certificate holders and continuing education course approvers as set forth above in the Summary and Economic Impact statements above. The Board does not believe that licensees, certificate holders or continuing education course approvers will need to employ any professional services to comply with the requirements of the proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule. The proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule impose no reporting requirements, but impose compliance and recordkeeping requirements as detailed in the Summary above.
As the proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule revise continuing education requirements to ensure that licensees and certificate holders are competent to practice safely and effectively, and that continuing education course approvers are providing a valid review of continuing [page=2732] education courses, no differing compliance requirements are imposed upon any licensee or certificate holder.
Smart Growth Impact
The Board does not anticipate that the proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule will have any impact on the achievement of smart growth and implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, otherwise known as the State Plan.
Housing Affordability Impact Analysis
The proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule will have an insignificant impact on affordable housing in New Jersey and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the rules would evoke a change in the average costs associated with housing because the proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule concern continuing education and clinical supervision requirements for social workers.
Smart Growth Development Impact Analysis
The proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule will have an insignificant impact on smart growth and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the rules would evoke a change in housing production in Planning Areas 1 or 2, or within designated centers, under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan in New Jersey because the proposed amendments, repeal, and new rule concern continuing education and clinical supervision requirements for social workers.
Full text of the proposal follows (additions indicated in boldface thus; deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):
SUBCHAPTER 6. CONTINUING EDUCATION
13:44G-6.2 Credit-hour requirements
(a) [Effective September 1, 2004 (that is, the biennial period beginning September 1, 2004 through August 31, 2006), an] An applicant for a biennial license or certification renewal shall complete the applicable continuing education credits as follows:
1. [A] An LCSW shall complete a minimum of 40 credits of continuing education, of which at least 20 of the 40 credits shall be in courses or programs directly related to clinical practice and five credits must be related to ethics. If the LCSW earns more than 40 credits during a biennial period, the LCSW may carry a maximum of eight surplus credits into a succeeding biennial period[, of which two may be in courses or programs directly related to clinical practice];
2. [A] An LSW shall complete a minimum of 30 credits of continuing education, five of which must be related to ethics. If the LSW earns more than 30 credits during a biennial period, the LSW may carry a maximum of six surplus credits into a succeeding biennial period; and
3. (No change.)
(b)-(c) (No change.)
(d) [Beginning September 1, 2008, the] The three contact hours of continuing education, of the prescribed contact hours, in the subject area of social and cultural competence shall be completed every biennial period and shall be in addition to the required five contact hours of continuing education in ethics as set forth in (a) above.
13:44G-6.4 Sources of continuing education credits and credit-hour calculations
(a) (No change.)
(b) A licensee or certificate holder shall complete and be able to verify such completion of a continuing education program or course in order to receive continuing education credit. The Board shall grant a licensee or certificate holder continuing education credit for each [two year] two-year period [as follows:].
(c) As of (the effective date of this amendment), a licensee or certificate holder may obtain continuing education hours only from the following sources:
1. Attendance at programs or courses [approved] offered by the ASWB: one credit for each hour of attendance;
2. Attendance at programs or courses [approved] offered by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW): one credit for each hour of attendance;
3. Attendance at programs or courses given at State and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is [either licensure or certification as a social worker] an academic degree in social work: one credit for each hour of attendance;
4. (No change.)
[5. Completion of an undergraduate or graduate-level course at a regionally accredited institution: five credits for each course credit, up to a maximum of one-half of the required continuing education credits; and]
5. Attendance at continuing education programs provided by institutions accredited, or in candidacy for accreditation, by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE): one credit for each hour of attendance;
6. Completion of undergraduate or graduate-level coursework in an academic program accredited, or in candidacy for accreditation, by the CSWE: five credits for each course credit;
7. Completion of undergraduate or graduate-level coursework at an academic institution accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education that is not accredited, or not in candidacy for accreditation by, the CSWE: three credits for each course credit awarded up to a maximum of one-half of the required continuing education credits;
[6.] 8. Attendance at in-service training provided by an organization licensed by the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Community Affairs, the Department of Health and Senior Services, or the Department of Human Services, in a subject matter related to the setting in which the licensee or certificate holder works: one credit for each hour of training up to a maximum of [six credits] one-half of the required continuing education credits. Such in-service training shall not include staff meetings, job training, training on administrative procedures or policies, quality assurance or case reviews, or case management[.];
9. Attendance at in-service training provided by an organization accredited by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), the Council on Accreditation (COA), the Council on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), the Family Service Association of America (FSAA), or the Joint Commission, in a subject matter related to the setting in which the licensee or certificate holder works: one credit for each hour of training up to one-half of the required continuing education credits. Such in-service training shall not include staff meetings, job training, training on administrative procedures or policies, quality assurance or case reviews, or case management;
10. Attendance at programs or courses approved by boards that license social work practice in other states: one credit for each hour of attendance;
11. Attendance at programs or courses related to the practice of social work that are recognized or approved by the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee, the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners or the Professional Counselor Examiners Committee: one credit for each hour of attendance;
[(c) Licensees or certificate holders shall receive continuing education credit for the following:]
[1.] 12. [A] Publishing a refereed article [published] in a professional journal within the preceding biennial period: nine credits per article;
[2.] 13. Teaching appointments for courses offered in [accredited] academic institutions accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education: 15 credits for each new course [which] that a licensee or certificate holder teaches within a biennial cycle. For the purposes of this [subsection] paragraph, "new" represents a course that the licensee or certificate holder has not taught previously in any educational setting; [and]
[3.] 14. Presentations at workshops, training sessions, and seminars: 1.5 credits for each hour of a new offering up to a maximum of nine credits. For the purposes of this paragraph, "new" represents a workshop, training session, and seminar that the licensee or certificate holder has not taught previously in any educational setting; and
15. Attendance at programs or courses approved by an entity recognized by the Board pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.7.
[page=2733] 13:44G-6.5 Documentation of continuing education credit
(a) (No change.)
(b) The licensee or certificate holder shall verify attendance at approved continuing education programs by a certificate of attendance or by a statement from the instructor of the offering. The verification shall include: [the name of the licensee or certificate holder, the name of the sponsor, the title, location and date of the offering, the signature of a program official and the number of continuing education hours.]
1. The title, including the specific designation of whether the course or program is clinical practice, ethics, cultural competency, or general social work, date, and location of course offering;
2. Name and license or certificate number of the attendee;
3. Number of credits awarded;
4. Name and original signature of officer or responsible party; and
5. The number of continuing education hours.
(c) The licensee or certificate holder shall verify individual activities by retaining the following:
1.-2. (No change.)
3. For teaching appointments, copies of the syllabus, bibliography, course outline, and verification from the academic institution that the course was [not previously offered.] "new." For the purpose of this paragraph, "new" represents a course that the licensee or certificate holder has not taught previously in any educational setting.
(d)-(e) (No change.)
[13:44G-6.7 Responsibilities of continuing education sponsors
(a) A continuing education sponsor not included in N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(b) shall obtain Board approval for each course offered and advertised as satisfying continuing education requirements.
(b) The continuing education sponsor shall submit the following for each course for which the sponsor seeks approval:
1. A detailed description of course content and hours of instruction;
2. A curriculum vitae of the lecturer, including specific background which demonstrates that the lecturer is reputable and qualified in the area of instruction; and
3. The fee required pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-14.1.
(c) The sponsor shall not make substantive changes to an approved course or program, such as a change in course content or instructor, without prior notice to, and approval by, the Board.
(d) The sponsor shall monitor attendance at each approved course and furnish to each enrollee a verification of attendance, which shall include at least the following information:
1. Title date and location of course offering;
2. Name and license or certificate number of the attendee;
3. Number of credits awarded; and
4. Name and signature of officer or responsible party.
(e) At the conclusion of the program, the sponsor shall solicit evaluations from both the participants and the instructor. The sponsor shall retain the evaluations for three years.
(f) Continuing education programs shall be offered on a non-discriminatory basis. Nothing in this section implies that membership organizations may not discount the cost of attending continuing education programs for dues-paying members, or that agencies may not seek accreditation for programs offered to staff only.]
13:44G-6.7 Board recognition of continuing education approval entities
(a) An entity that wishes to obtain Board recognition as an entity that may approve continuing education courses shall submit the approval entity applicant fee set forth at N.J.A.C. 13:44G-14.1(a)16i and apply to the Board for such recognition in writing, indicating that it:
1. Requires an applicant for continuing education course approval to indicate whether it has applied to another entity for approval and if such application has been denied by the other entity;
2. Has a complaint process for continuing education courses that have not been approved with an option to appeal to the Board if the sponsor is displeased with the results of that process;
3. Has a complaint process through which attendees of approved continuing education courses may register complaints with the entity with an option to appeal to the Board if an attendee is displeased with the results of the process;
4. Lists all approved continuing education courses on its website;
5. Requires courses to maintain attendance records for five years;
6. Utilizes only certified social workers, licensed social workers or licensed clinical social workers in good standing to review continuing education courses;
7. Approves continuing education courses only, not continuing education sponsors;
8. Requires that approved continuing education courses comply with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.3;
9. Sets forth, in documentation sent to an approved course, the number of credits contained in the course and whether these credits are in clinical practice, ethics, cultural competency, or general social work. The entity shall require that approved courses provide this information to course attendees;
10. Maintains records as to continuing education course approvals and denials; and
11. Responds to applications for continuing education course approval within 90 days of receipt of a request.
(b) Board recognition shall be valid for one year. An entity shall reapply for Board recognition by submitting the information required under (a) above.
(c) The Board may revoke recognition of an entity's ability to approve continuing education courses if the Board becomes aware that the entity is not complying with the requirements of (a) above.
(d) An entity that is recognized to approve continuing education courses shall not approve any continuing education course that it provides.
SUBCHAPTER 8. CLINICAL SUPERVISION
13:44G-8.1 Clinical supervision
(a) All LSWs shall not engage in independent private clinical social work practice and all LSWs engaged in clinical social work practice shall have clinical supervision in accordance with the following standards:
1. Clinical supervision shall consist of contact between a social worker and a supervisor during which at least the following occurs:
i.-iv. (No change.)
v. The supervisor provides at least one hour of face-to-face individual or group clinical supervision per week[.];
2. Until July 7, 2004, clinical supervision may be rendered by:
i.-iii. (No change.)
iv. Any other supervisor the Board may deem acceptable[.];
3. All applicants shall obtain the Board's prior written approval of any person rendering supervision other than a person identified in (a)2i through iii above[.];
4. Any LSW who has entered into a supervisory relationship with a supervisor pursuant to (a)2 above may continue the supervisory relationship;
[4.] 5. [Beginning on July 7, 2004, clinical] Clinical supervision shall be rendered by [a] an LCSW [with a minimum of three years of licensure as a LCSW and who has] who:
i. Has been licensed as an LCSW for a minimum of three years; and
ii. Has completed at least 20 continuing education credits of post-graduate course-work related to clinical supervision[. Any LSW who has entered into a supervisory relationship with a supervisor pursuant to (a)2 above may continue the supervisory relationship until July 7, 2007.] offered by either a sponsor approved by ASWB or the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), or an educational program approved by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
[5.] 6. The supervisor shall retain responsibility for the standards of clinical social work practice with respect to treatment being rendered to the client[.];
[6.] 7. The supervisor shall refer the clients to the social worker unless the social worker is employed by an agency and obtains supervision pursuant to (d) below[.];
[page=2734] [7.] 8. The supervisor or the supervisor's employer shall receive the fee paid by clients for services performed by the social worker engaged in a supervisory relationship[.]; and
[8.] 9. (No change in text.)
(b)-(f) (No change.)
SUBCHAPTER 14. FEES
(a) Charges for licensure, certification, and other services:
1.-15. (No change.)
16. Continuing education fees:
i. Continuing education sponsors [(biennial)] approval entity. . . .$ 100.00