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NEW JERSEY REGISTER
VOLUME 35, NUMBER 13
MONDAY, JULY 7, 2003
RULE PROPOSAL

LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE BOARD OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS
CONTINUING EDUCATION

Proposed New Rules: N.J.A.C. 13:34-8

Authorized By: State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, Dennis Gonzalez, Executive Director.

Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:8B-24.1.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Proposal Number: PRN 2003-248.

Submit written comments by September 5, 2003 to:

Dennis Gonzalez, Executive Director

State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners

PO Box 45007

124 Halsey Street

Newark, New Jersey 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

The State Board of Marriage and Family Therapists (the Board) proposes new rules, N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.1 through 8.7, to establish continuing education requirements for marriage and family therapists in New Jersey. The proposed new rules implement N.J.S.A. 45:8B-24.1 which confers upon the Board the authority to promulgate rules and regulations for implementing continuing education requirements as a condition of license renewal. The proposed new rules further the Board's obligation to encourage the maintenance of continuing proficiency for licensed marriage and family therapists to the end that the utilization and application of new techniques and advances will be in the public interest.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:34-8 implements N.J.S.A. 45:8B-24.1 by requiring all licensees to complete continuing education requirements as a condition of biennial license renewal. Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.1 summarizes the Board's continuing education hour requirements. Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.2(a), licensees seeking biennial renewal for the first renewal period following the effective date of these rules, shall complete a minimum of 40 contact hours of continuing education directly related to the profession of marriage and family therapy during this renewal period. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.2(b) establishes that of these 40 contact hours of continuing education, the Board will require the licensee to complete at least five contact hours in the biennial renewal period in ethical and legal standards related to marriage and family therapy. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.1(c) provides that if a licensee earns more than 40 contact hours during a biennial period, the licensee may carry those extra hours, up to a maximum of 10 contact hours, into the next succeeding biennial period as long as those contact hours were earned within the last six months of the biennial period.

Proposed N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3 establishes the courses and programs approved for providing continuing education. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(a) sets forth the acceptable sources of continuing education as long as the course, program or article is applicable to marriage and family therapy and falls within the following content areas: marriage and family therapy concepts; personal and professional ethics, ethical and legal practice considerations, contractual agreements with clients, confidentiality issues, recordkeeping, uses of computers and other technologies, distance and e-therapy, liabilities of practice and basic concepts in family law; the helping relationship; human growth, development and maladaptive behavior; practice in theories of family systems, treatment approaches, assessment of family function and dysfunction, and specific system treatment options as both science and art; programs that address anger management, family violence, patterns of behavior and substance addiction; lifestyles and career development; group dynamics, processes, counseling and consulting; appraisals of individuals; research and evaluation; social and cultural foundations; and the marriage and family therapy profession. Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(a)1, in order for the course or program to be an acceptable source of continuing education, the course or program must be approved by one of the following: The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC); the American Counseling Association (ACA); the American Psychological Association (APA); the American Psychiatric Association (APA); the National Association of Social Workers (NASW); the National Association of Social Workers-New Jersey (NASW-NJ); the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT); the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy of New Jersey, Inc. (AAMFT-NJ); the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselors Certification (CRCC); the American Ortho-Psychiatric Association; the American Medical Association (AMA); the American Nursing Association (ANA); the National Association of Drug Abuse Counselors (NADAC); a member board of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, Inc; the Commission of Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE); or the American Family Therapy Association (AFTA). N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(a)2 establishes that the Board will accept the teaching or completion of graduate coursework at a regionally accredited institution of higher education for continuing education credit. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(a)3 establishes that the Board will also accept the authoring of an article published in a professional refereed journal within the preceding biennial period. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(a)4 provides that a licensee can receive continuing education credit for completion and acceptance of a doctoral dissertation at a regionally accredited institution of higher education. In addition, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(a)5 a licensee can receive continuing education credit for presenting a new course, program or workshop approved by one of the organizations listed at N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(a)1. In addition, N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(a)6 establishes that a licensee can receive continuing education credit for development and completion of courses or programs that provide distance learning opportunities approved by one of the specified organizations or a regionally accredited institution of higher education.

N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(b) provides that if a licensee seeks approval of continuing education credit from the Board for attendance or presentation of a course or program that has not been approved by any of the organizations listed in N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(a)1, the licensee shall first apply to and obtain approval from one of the listed organizations prior to seeking approval of continuing education credit from the Board.

N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3(c)1 through 12 lists the acceptable course and program content areas for continuing education.

N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.4 establishes the sources of continuing education credits and contact hour calculations. Subsection (a) specifies that the Board will only grant credit for the continuing education courses and programs that are at the least one contact hour long and are directly related to the marriage and family therapy practice. Subsection (a) defines a "contact hour" as a 60-minute clock hour with no less than 50 minutes of content within the hour. Programs may include one 10-minute break for each contact hour. Subsection (b) requires a licensee to complete and verify completion of a continuing education course or program to receive continuing education credit. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.4(b)1 sets forth that a licensee completing graduate or post-graduate coursework at a regionally accredited institution of higher education will receive 15 continuing education contact hours for each semester course credit awarded beyond the required educational standards. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.4(b)2 establishes that a licensee teaching graduate or post-graduate courses or programs offered at a regional accredited institution of higher education will receive 15 continuing education contact hours for each semester course credit awarded for each new course which a licensee teaches. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.4(b) 3 sets forth that if a licensee has authored a refereed article published in a professional journal within the preceding biennial period, then the licensee will be granted 15 continuing education contact hours per article with a maximum of 30 contact hours per biennial period. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.4(b)4 establishes that a licensee will be granted 40 continuing education contact hours for the completion and acceptance of a doctoral dissertation that is verified by letter of committee chairperson accepting the dissertation for a doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy or a closely related field. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.4(b)5 provides that a licensee attending conferences, programs, courses or workshops will be granted one continuing education contact hour for each hour of attendance, or the number of continuing education contact hours as calculated by the organization, whichever is greater. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.4(b)6 establishes that a licensee may be granted one and one-half continuing education contact hours for each hour of a new course, program or workshop presentation, with a maximum of nine hours. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.4(b) 7 provides that a licensee may earn up to a maximum of 20 continuing education contact hours for developing and completing programs that provide distance learning opportunities, such as Internet, video, audio, or CD-Rom, through the use of integrated technology/communication systems, verified with details of the program, such as learning objectives, verification of assignments completed, achievements of State learning objectives, inclusive dates and number of enrollees.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.5 sets forth the requirements for documenting continuing education credit. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.5(a) requires a licensee to retain documentation of completed continuing education contact hours in order to verify program attendance and activity completion. A licensee must submit this documentation to the Board upon its request. The Board may periodically audit the records of licensees on a random basis to determine compliance with the continuing education requirements. Pursuant to subsection (b), a licensee must verify attendance at continuing education courses or programs by a certificate of attendance or by a statement from the course or program instructor. The verification must include the name of the licensee, the name of the sponsor, the title, location and date of the course or program, the signature of a program official and the number of continuing education hours awarded. Subsection (c) provides the materials a licensee must retain to verify continuing education activities. Subsection (d) sets forth that a licensee shall maintain verification documentation for six years following the renewal period for which the Committee has granted the licensee continuing education credit. Subsection (e) establishes that falsification of any information or failure to complete continuing education requirements may result in disciplinary action by the Board.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.6 establishes the circumstances in which the Board may waive continuing education hours as a condition of license renewal. N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.6(a) provides that the Board may waive continuing education requirements for hardship such as illness, disability, active service in the military or other good cause as established by the licensee. Pursuant to proposed N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.6(b), a licensee who seeks a waiver of the continuing education requirements must provide to the Board, in writing, during the biennial period for which waiver is sought, the specific reasons for requesting the waiver and such additional documentation as the Board may request in support of the waiver.

The Committee has determined that the comment period for this proposal shall be 60 days; therefore, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5, this proposal is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement.

Social Impact

The proposed new rules will have a positive social impact on members of the general public who use the services of marriage and family therapists in New Jersey. The rules ensure that marriage and family therapists maintain continuing proficiency in the use and application of new techniques and advances in the profession to the benefit of the public.

The proposed new rules impact marriage and family therapists who must now commit time to complete the continuing education requirement and to maintain appropriate documentation. The proposed new rules are, however, of benefit to marriage and family therapists in terms of increased professional knowledge and to the consumer who receives services from highly qualified, capable and well- informed professionals. Thus, the new rules weigh heavily in favor of the public interest and furnish the Board with the guidelines to enforce continuing competency requirements within its legislative authority.

Economic Impact

The proposed new rules have an economic impact upon the approximately 850 marriage and family therapists currently licensed in the State of New Jersey who will incur ongoing costs to complete continuing education courses, programs or other professional activities. The cost to each licensee will vary depending on the course, program or professional activity he or she selects. The Board does not anticipate that the new rules will cause marriage and family therapists to increase their fees to recoup the cost of maintaining professional competence. Moreover, the overwhelming benefit of continuing competency to both the licensee and the general public weighs heavily in favor of the rules.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is unnecessary as there are no Federal standards or requirements which address the subject matter. The Board proposes these new rules pursuant to the State statutes governing the profession of marriage and family therapy.

Jobs Impact

The proposed new rules will impact each applicant for an active registration renewal certificate who fails to substantiate completion of the mandatory continuing education credits. The proposed new rules establish that the Board may take disciplinary action against any applicant for license renewal who falsifies any information submitted with the renewal application, on the audit, or who fails to complete the continuing education requirements. The Board believes that potential loss of license will encourage compliance with the rules. The proposed new rules may have a positive impact by increasing jobs for continuing education lecturers and program and seminar sponsors who will administer the various offerings.

Agriculture Industry Impact

These proposed new rules will have no impact on the agriculture industry in the State.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., requires the Board to give a description of the types and an estimate of the number of small businesses to which the proposed new rules will apply. If the approximately 850 licensed marriage and family therapists in the State are considered "small businesses" for the purposes of the Act, then the following analysis applies.

The Act requires the Board to set forth the reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the proposed new rules including the kind of professional services likely to be needed to comply with the requirements. The Act further requires the Board to estimate the initial and annual compliance costs of the proposed new rules, and to provide an indication of the likely variation on small businesses of differing types and sizes. In addition, the Act requires the Board to outline the manner in which it has designed the rules to minimize adverse economic impact upon small businesses.

The proposed new rules impose minimal reporting requirements on licensees. A licensee seeking renewal confirms on the renewal application form that he or she has complied with the Board's continuing education requirements. A licensee seeking waiver of the Board's continuing education requirements submits a request to the Board specifying the reasons for the waiver request, together with any documentation required by the Board.

Likewise, the proposed new rules impose minimal recordkeeping requirements on licensees and course, program or seminar sponsors. A licensee is required to retain a record of all continuing education activity completed for six years following license renewal and to provide this documentation to the Board upon request. Documentation may include certificate of attendance or a statement from the course or program instructor. The verification shall include the name of the licensee, the name of the sponsor, the title, location and date of the course or program, the signature of a program official and the number of continuing education hours. In addition, a licensee shall verify continuing education activities by retaining a copy of the published article for publications; copies of the program, syllabus, outlines and bibliographies for course, program or workshop presentations; copies of the syllabus, bibliography, course outlines and verification from the academic institution that the course was new for teaching. For distance learning, a licensee must retain a certificate of successful completion from the endorsing professional organization. A licensee shall verify completion of graduate coursework by an official transcript.

There are unlikely to be any initial capital costs to licensees to comply with the proposed new rules. In addition, the Board does not anticipate that professional services will be needed to comply with the requirements. Licensees will, however, incur ongoing costs to complete professional activities to comply with the proposed new rules. Such costs will vary depending on the professional activity a licensee selects. Because the Board intends to maintain a minimum level of proficiency among all marriage and family therapists, no exemption will be granted except in cases of undue hardship such as severe illness, disability or military service. Ultimately, any costs which the proposed new rules impose on licensees are strongly outweighed by the positive impact of the rules upon the public interest.

Full text of the proposal follows:

<<+SUBCHAPTER 8. CONTINUING EDUCATION+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:34-8.1 >>

<<+13:34-8.1 Continuing education requirement for license renewal+>>

<<+All licensed marriage and family therapists shall complete 40 contact hours of continuing education for license renewal. The licensed marriage and family therapist shall confirm on the renewal application that the licensee has completed the required continuing professional education programs, courses or articles as specified in this subchapter during the biennial period preceding the application for the renewal.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:34-8.2 >>

<<+13:34-8.2 Contact hour requirement for licensed marriage and family therapists+>>

<<+(a) A marriage and family therapist applying for renewal for the first renewal period following (the effective date of these rules) shall complete a minimum of 40 contact hours of continuing education directly related to the profession of marriage and family therapy during this renewal period.+>>

<<+(b) A licensee shall complete at least five of the 40 contact hours of continuing education as required by N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.1 in ethical and legal standards related to marriage and family therapy, regardless of the number of hours accrued during the biennial period.+>>

<<+(c) If a licensee earns more than 40 contact hours of continuing education during a biennial period, the licensee may carry those extra hours, up to a maximum of 10 contact hours, into the next succeeding biennial period as long as those contact hours were earned within the last six months of the biennial period.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:34-8.3 >>

<<+13:34-8.3 Approval of continuing education programs and courses+>>

<<+(a) The following are acceptable sources of continuing education as long as the course, program, or article is applicable to marriage and family therapy or falls within the content areas set forth in (c) below:+>>

<<+1. Courses and programs approved by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC); the American Counseling Association (ACA); the American Psychological Association (APA); the American Psychiatric Association (APA); the National Association of Social Workers (NASW); the National Association of Social Workers-New Jersey (NASW-NJ); the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT); the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy of New Jersey, Inc. (AAMFT-NJ); the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselors Certification (CRCC); the American Ortho-Psychiatric Association; the American Medical Association (AMA); the American Nursing Association (ANA); the National Association of Drug Abuse Counselors (NADAC); a member of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, Inc.; the Commission of Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE); the American Family Therapy Association (AFTA); or the American Society of Addiction Medicine;+>>

<<+2. Teaching or completing graduate coursework at a regionally accredited institution of higher education;+>>

<<+3. Authoring an article published in a professional refereed journal within the preceding biennial period;+>>

<<+4. Completing and having accepted a doctoral dissertation from a regionally accredited institution of higher education;+>>

<<+5. Presenting a new course, program or workshop approved by one of the organizations listed in (a)1 above; and+>>

<<+6. Developing and completing courses or programs that provide distance learning opportunities approved by one of the organizations listed in (a)1 above or a regionally accredited institution of higher education.+>>

<<+(b) If a licensee seeks approval of continuing education credit from the Board for attending or presenting a course or program that has not been approved by any of the organizations listed in (a)1 above, the licensee shall first apply to and obtain approval from one of the listed organizations prior to seeking approval of continuing education credit from the Board.+>>

<<+(c) The following are acceptable content areas for continuing education:+>>

<<+1. Marriage and family therapy concepts, theory and practice of human behavior and family/social systems which provide basic theories, principles and techniques of therapy and their specific application to marriage and family therapy settings;+>>

<<+2. Personal and professional ethics, ethical and legal practice considerations, contractual agreements with clients (fees, payment plans, third party payers, treatment plans), confidentiality issues, recordkeeping, uses of computers and other technologies, distance and e-therapy, liabilities of practice and basic concepts in family law;+>>

<<+3. The helping relationship which provides broad understanding of philosophical bases of helping processes, basic and advanced helping skills, consultation theories and their applications, client self-help, self- understanding, and self-development, and facilitation of client change;+>>

<<+4. Human growth, development and maladaptive behavior which provides a broad understanding of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels, normal and abnormal behavior, personality theory, life- span theory, and learning theory within cultural contexts;+>>

<<+5. Practice in theories of family systems, treatment approaches, assessment of family function and dysfunction, and specific system treatment options as both science and art;+>>

<<+6. Programs that address anger management, family violence, patterns of behavior and substance addiction;+>>

<<+7. Lifestyles and career development which provide a broad understanding of differing lifestyles, career development theories, occupational and educational information sources and systems, career and leisure counseling, guidance and education, lifestyles and career decision-making, career development program planning, resources, and career option identification;+>>

<<+8. Group dynamics, processes, counseling and consulting which provide a broad understanding of group development dynamics, group counseling theories, group leadership styles, basic and advanced group therapy methods and skills, and other approaches to work with groups;+>>

<<+9. Appraisals of individuals which provides broad understanding of group and individual psychometric theories and approaches to appraisal, data and information gathering methods, validity and reliability, psychometric statistics, factors that influence appraisals, use of appraisal results in the helping process and the specific ability to administer and interpret tests and inventories that assess abilities, aptitudes, interest, and identify career options--within the regulations for licensed marriage and family therapist's scope of practice;+>>

<<+10. Research and evaluation which provides a broad understanding of types of research, basic statistics, research and report development, research implementation, program evaluation, needs assessment, efficacy of treatment, publication of research information;+>>

<<+11. Social and cultural foundations which provide a broad understanding of societal changes and trends, human roles, societal subgroups, social mores and interaction patterns, social policy, multi cultural and pluralistic trends, differing lifestyles, and major societal concerns including discrimination, domestic violence, person abuse, stress, substance abuse, and methods of alleviating these concerns; and+>>

<<+12. The marriage and family therapy profession which provides a broad understanding of professional roles and function, business practices including finances, management and recordkeeping, professional goals and objectives, professional organizations and associations, professional history and trends, ethical and legal standards, professional preparation standards, professional credentialing, and supervised clinical training.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:34-8.4 >>

<<+13:34-8.4 Contact hour calculations+>>

<<+(a) The Board shall grant credit only for continuing education courses or programs that are at least one contact hour long, and are directly related to the practice of marriage, family and individual therapy. For purposes of this subchapter, a contact hour represents a 60-minute clock hour containing no less than 50 minutes of content within the hour. Programs may include one 10-minute break for each contact hour.+>>

<<+(b) A licensee shall complete and be able to verify completion of a continuing education course, program or article as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.3 in order to receive continuing education credit. The Board shall grant continuing education credit to a licensee in each biennial renewal period as follows:+>>

<<+1. Completing graduate or post-graduate coursework at a regionally accredited institution of higher education: 15 contact hours of continuing education for each semester course credit awarded beyond the required educational standards which an applicant must complete for licensure as set forth in N.J.S.A. 45:8B-18 and N.J.A.C. 13:34-4.3;+>>

<<+2. Teaching graduate or post-graduate courses or programs offered at a regionally accredited institution of higher education: 15 contact hours of continuing education for each semester course credit awarded for each new course which a licensee teaches. For the purposes of this subsection, "new" means a course that the licensee has not taught previously in any educational setting;+>>

<<+3. Authoring an article published in a professional refereed journal within the preceding biennial period: 15 contact hours of continuing education per article with a maximum of 30 contact hours of continuing education per biennial period;+>>

<<+4. Completion and acceptance of a doctoral dissertation verified by letter of committee chairperson accepting the dissertation for a doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy or a closely related field: 40 contact hours of continuing education per biennial period;+>>

<<+5. Attending conferences, programs, courses or workshops: one contact hour of continuing education for each hour of attendance, or the number of contact hours of continuing education as calculated by the organization, whichever is greater;+>>

<<+6. Presenting a course, program or workshop: one and one-half contact hours of continuing education for each new course, program or workshop, up to a maximum of nine contact hours of continuing education. For the purposes of this subsection, "new" means a course that the licensee has not taught previously in any educational setting; and+>>

<<+7. Developing and completing programs that provide distance learning opportunities, such as Internet, video, audio, or CD-Rom, through the use of integrated technology/communication systems, verified with details of the program, such as learning objectives, verification of assignments completed, achievements of stated learning objectives, inclusive dates and number of enrollees: the amount of continuing education contact hours as calculated by the endorsing organization, up to a maximum of 20 contact hours of continuing education per biennial period.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:34-8.5 >>

<<+13:34-8.5 Documentation of continuing education credit+>>

<<+(a) A licensee shall retain documentation of the continuing education hours which he or she completes in order to verify program attendance and activity completion. Each licensee shall submit such documentation to the Board upon its request. The Board may periodically audit the records of licensees on a random basis to determine compliance with continuing education requirements of this subchapter.+>>

<<+(b) A licensee shall verify attendance at continuing education courses or programs by a certificate of attendance or by a written statement from the course or program instructor. The verification shall include the name of the licensee, the name of the sponsor, the title, location and date of the course or program, the signature of a program official and the number of continuing education hours awarded.+>>

<<+(c) A licensee shall verify continuing education activities by retaining the following:+>>

<<+1. For publications, a copy of the published article;+>>

<<+2. For program presentations, copies of the program, syllabus, outlines and bibliographies;+>>

<<+3. For teaching, copies of the syllabus, bibliography, course outline and verification from the academic institution that the course was "new" as defined by N.J.A.C. 13:34-8.4(b)2;+>>

<<+4. For distance learning, a certificate of successful completion from the endorsing professional organization; and+>>

<<+5. For graduate coursework, an official transcript.+>>

<<+(d) A licensee shall maintain verification documentation for six years following the renewal period for which the Board has granted the licensee continuing education credit.+>>

<<+(e) Falsification of any information submitted with the renewal application, or the audit, or failure to complete continuing education requirements may result in disciplinary action by the Board.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:34-8.6 >>

<<+13:34-8.6 Waiver of continuing education requirements+>>

<<+(a) The Board may waive continuing education requirements on an individual basis for reasons of hardship such as illness, disability, active service in the military or other good cause as established by the licensee.+>>

<<+(b) A licensee who seeks a waiver of the continuing education requirements shall provide to the Board, in writing, during the biennial period for which waiver is sought, the specific reasons for requesting the waiver and such additional documentation as the Board may request in support of the waiver.+>>

SUBCHAPTER<<-S 8 AND->> 9. (RESERVED)


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Posted July 8, 2003