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NEW JERSEY REGISTER
VOLUME 39, ISSUE 11
ISSUE DATE: JUNE 4, 2007
RULE PROPOSALS
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE BOARD OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPY EXAMINERS
PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR EXAMINERS COMMITTEE

39 N.J.R. 2199(a)

Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:34-15.2, 15.4, 24.2 and 24.3

Click here to view Interested Persons Statement

Continuing Education

Authorized By: State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, Elaine L. DeMars, Executive Director.

Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:8B-13 and 35.

Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.

Proposal Number: PRN 2007-177.

Submit written comments by August 3, 2007 to:

Elaine L. DeMars, Executive Director
State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners
P.O. Box 45007
124 Halsey Street
Newark, New Jersey 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

The State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners (the Board), through its Professional Counselor Examiners Committee (the Committee) is proposing amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:34-15.2 and 24.2 to require continuing education in the subject area of social and cultural diversity for all licensed professional and rehabilitation counselors. Although no statute mandates this coursework, the requirement is consistent with the legislative recognition embodied in P.L. 2005, c. 53 establishing a mandate for physicians. The legislature, in its findings, noted that "[c]ultural awareness and cultural competence are essential skills for providing quality health care to a diverse patient population." The Committee recognizes this need to be equally compelling for mental health care professionals.

The Committee proposes new N.J.A.C. 13:34-15.2(c) and 24.2(c) to require at least three of the required 40 contact hours of continuing education to be in the subject area of social and cultural diversity. The proposed language establishes that cultural diversity education include an understanding of the cultural, ethnic, racial, age, gender, economic and other factors affecting relationships of individuals, couples, families, ethnic groups and communities.

The Committee is proposing new N.J.A.C. 13:34-15.2(d) and 24.2(d) to provide that the requirement for three contact hours of continuing education be in the subject area of social and cultural diversity which will take effect on December 1, 2008 and will be required every biennial period after December 1, 2008.

The Committee is also proposing new N.J.A.C. 13:34-15.4(d) and 24.3(d), which provide for Committee approval of a course or program in the subject area of social and cultural diversity in order for the course or program to fulfill the three contact hours of continuing education requirement. The Committee is proposing to accept a course or program in the subject area approved by the Board of Social Work Examiners, the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners or the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee.

As the Committee 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.

Social Impact

The proposed amendments will have a positive social impact upon clients. The proposed continuing education requirement trains professional and rehabilitation counselors in social and cultural diversity. Such training is essential in providing quality health care to all segments of society. As a result, the Committee is proposing that professional and rehabilitation counselors be trained in the provision of culturally competent health care as a condition to practice professional or rehabilitation counseling in New Jersey.

Economic Impact

The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:34-15.2, 15.4, 24.2 and 24.3 should have no significant adverse economic impact upon professional and rehabilitation counselors since the completion of continuing education in social and cultural competency training may be included in the 40 continuing education hours required by the Committee.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because the proposed amendments are proposed pursuant to State statute and are not subject to any Federal requirements or standards.

Jobs Impact

The Committee does not anticipate that the proposed amendments will result in the creation or loss of any jobs.

Agriculture Industry Impact

The Committee believes the proposed amendments will have no impact upon the agriculture industry in New Jersey.

Regulatory Flexibility Statement

Currently, the Committee licenses approximately 2,274 professional counselors and 176 rehabilitation counselors. If Committee licensees are considered "small businesses," within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., then the following analysis applies.

The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:34-15.2 and 24.2 impose compliance requirements upon Committee licensees since they must be trained in social and cultural competency to practice professional and rehabilitation counseling in this State. The proposed amendments also impose compliance requirements upon licensees since the required training must conform to the criteria outlined in the rule. The proposed amendments will not impose recordkeeping and reporting requirements. No additional professional services will be needed to comply with the proposed amendments. Moreover, the Committee does not believe that there will be any significant, additional economic impact upon licensees as a result of the proposed amendments. The Committee also believes that the proposed amendments should be uniformly applied to all licensees in order to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the general public in the practice of professional and rehabilitation counseling.

Smart Growth Impact

The Committee does not anticipate that the proposed amendments 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.

Full text of the proposal follows (additions indicated in boldface thus; deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):

13:34-15.2 Contact-hour requirements for licensed professional counselors

(a)-(b) (No change.)

(c) A licensee shall complete at least three of the 40 contact hours of continuing education as required by N.J.A.C. 13:34-15.1 in the subject area of social and cultural diversity. For the purposes of this subsection, cultural diversity includes, but is not limited to, an understanding of the cultural context of relationships: issues and trends in a diverse society related to such factors as culture, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental and physical characteristics, education, family values, religious and spiritual values, socioeconomic status: and unique characteristics of individuals, couples, families, ethnic groups and communities including any of the following:

1. Multicultural and pluralistic trends, including characteristics and concerns between and within diverse groups nationally and internationally;

2. Attitudes, beliefs, understandings, and acculturative experiences, including specific experiential learning activities;

3. Individual, couple, family, group, and community strategies for working with diverse populations and ethnic groups;

4. Counselors' roles in social justice, advocacy and conflict resolution, cultural self-awareness, the nature of biases, prejudices, process of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination, and other culturally supported behaviors that are detrimental to the growth of the human spirit, mind, or body;

5. Theories of multicultural counseling, theories of identity development and multicultural competencies; and

6. Ethical and legal considerations relating to issues of diversity.

(d) Beginning December 1, 2008, the three contact hours of continuing education in the subject area of social and cultural diversity shall be completed every biennial period and shall be in addition to the required five contact hours of continuing education in ethics and legal standards as set forth in (b) above.

[(c)] (e) (No change in text.)

13:34-15.4 Approval of courses or programs

(a)-(c) (No change.)

(d) A course or program in the subject area of social and cultural diversity for the purpose of fulfilling the three contact hours of continuing education requirement shall be subject to the approval of the Committee. A course or program in the subject area approved by the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the Board of Social Work Examiners, or the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee shall be deemed acceptable by this Committee.

13:34-24.2 Contact-hour requirements for licensed rehabilitation counselors

(a)-(b) (No change.)

(c) A licensee shall complete at least three of the 40 contact hours of continuing education as required by N.J.A.C. 13:34-24.1 in the subject area of social and cultural diversity. For the purposes of this subsection, cultural diversity includes but is not limited to an understanding of the cultural context of relationships: issues and trends in a diverse society related to such factors as culture, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental and physical characteristics, education, family values, religious and spiritual values, socioeconomic status; and unique characteristics of individuals, couples, families, ethnic groups and communities including any of the following:

1. Multicultural and pluralistic trends, including characteristics and concerns between and within diverse groups nationally and internationally;

2. Attitudes, beliefs, understandings, and acculturative experiences, including specific experiential learning activities;

3. Individual, couple, family, group, and community strategies for working with diverse populations and ethnic groups;

4. Counselors' roles in social justice, advocacy and conflict resolution, cultural self-awareness, the nature of biases, prejudices, process of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination, and other culturally supported behaviors that are detrimental to the growth of the human spirit, mind, or body;

5. Theories of multicultural counseling, theories of identity development and multicultural competencies; and

6. Ethical and legal considerations relating to issues of diversity.

(d) Beginning December 1, 2008, the three contact hours of continuing education in the subject area of social and cultural diversity shall be completed every biennial period and shall be in addition to the required five contact hours of continuing education in ethics and legal standards as set forth in (b) above.

[(c)] (e) (No change in text.)

13:34-24.3 Approval of courses or programs

(a)-(c) (No change.)

(d) A course or program in the subject area of social and cultural diversity for the purpose of fulfilling the three contact hours of continuing education requirement shall be subject to the approval of the Committee. A course or program in the subject area approved by the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the Board of Social Work Examiners, or the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee shall be deemed acceptable by this Committee.



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