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NEW JERSEY REGISTER
VOLUME 40, ISSUE 9
ISSUE DATE: MAY 5, 2008
RULE PROPOSALS

LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
State Board of Social Work Examiners

 

Proposed Readoption with Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:44G

Rules

Authorized By: State Board of Social Work Examiners, Kay McCormack, Executive Director.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:15BB-11.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exemption to calendar requirement.

Proposal Number: PRN 2008-149.
Submit comments by July 4, 2008 to:
 

Kay McCormack, Executive Director
State Board of Social Work Examiners
124 Halsey Street
P.O. Box 45033
Newark, NJ 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

The State Board of Social Work Examiners (the Board) proposes to readopt N.J.A.C. 13:44G with amendments. These rules are scheduled to expire on December 7, 2008 pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:14B-5.1c.

In compliance with N.J.S.A. 52:14B-5.1, the Board undertook a thorough review of the existing provisions of N.J.A.C. 13:44G in order to delete unnecessary or unreasonable rules and to propose new rules that the Board believes are needed to clarify and assist in social work practice. The Board believes that the rules proposed for readoption, as amended, are necessary, reasonable, understandable and responsive to the purpose for which they were originally promulgated. These rules have had an advantageous impact on the regulation and conduct of certified social workers, licensed social workers and licensed clinical social workers by enabling the Board to have in place procedures, which serve and protect the public interest. The following summarizes each subchapter in N.J.A.C. 13:44G and amendments proposed to the existing rules.

Subchapter 1 sets forth the purpose and scope of the rules and relevant definitions. The subchapter also delineates the individuals who must obtain licensure or certification. The Board proposes to amend the definition of "social work services" to clarify that such services are concrete services and are non-clinical in nature.

Subchapter 2 describes the organization of the Board and the location of Board offices.

Subchapter 3 details the scope of practice for licensed clinical social workers, licensed social workers, and certified social workers.

Subchapter 4 delineates eligibility requirements for applicants seeking licensure or certification as licensed clinical social workers, licensed social workers, and certified social workers. The subchapter also sets forth the grounds upon which the Board may refuse to issue or renew, suspend, or revoke a license or certification. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:44G-4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.5 to require applicants to submit a consent form acknowledging that the Board will conduct a criminal history background check, which is a pre-requisite for licensure and certification pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:1-28 et seq.

The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:44G-4.2 to recognize that the examination a licensed social worker is required to take is a master's level examination, not an intermediate examination.

Subchapter 5 is reserved.

Subchapter 6 deals with the Board's continuing education requirements. The subchapter sets the number of continuing education credits each class of licensees and certificants are required to complete. It also sets out the methods by which licensees and certificants may satisfy continuing education requirements and the methods of documenting completion of continuing education credits. On June 4, 2007, the Board proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.2 and 6.3 that would require licensees to complete continuing education contact hours in the areas of social and cultural diversity. These amendments are currently being reviewed prior to adoption.

Subchapter 7 sets forth the standards for biennial license and certification renewal and reinstatement of expired licenses. Licensees and certificants are required to renew licensure or certification every two years. A licensee or certificant who fails to renew will be suspended by operation of law and may not engage in the practice of social work unless and until the license or certificate is reinstated. The subchapter permits licensees and certificants to renew their license or certification as inactive. An inactive licensee or certificant may not engage in the practice of social work.

Subchapter 8 contains the Board's clinical supervision standards for licensed social workers engaging in clinical social work practice. A licensed social worker who engages in clinical social work must be supervised by a licensed clinical social worker. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:44G-8.l to clarify that a relationship between a social worker and a supervisor must conform to the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:44G-10.4(b), which deals with conflicts of interest.

Subchapter 9 sets forth general obligations of licensees and certificants. These include the steps that a licensee or certificate holder must take to notify the Board of a change of address or name, and guidelines concerning service of process. The subchapter also sets forth the activities that the Board considers to be the unlicensed practice of social work.

Subchapter 10 regulates certain business practices and professional conduct of licensees and certificants. The subchapter requires licensees and certificants to display notices regarding professional fees, licensure and certification. The subchapter also imposes requirements on financial arrangements with clients, termination of professional services and professional interaction with clients. Licensees and certificants are prohibited from engaging in sexual misconduct, harassment or discrimination; are prohibited from having sexual contact with clients or certain former clients, or from accepting former sexual partners as clients; and are required to report violations committed by other licensees and certificants.

Subchapter 11 sets forth the Board's standards concerning advertising by social workers. Advertisements must be truthful and must contain the name, address, telephone number and licensure status of the licensee or certificant. The subchapter imposes requirements on licensees and certificants who include professional credentials or certifications in advertisements. The subchapter also imposes requirements for advertisements that make reference to professional fees or include testimonials. Licensees and certificants are required to maintain advertisements for three years.

Subchapter 12 addresses client records. The subchapter sets forth the Board's standards concerning preparation and maintenance of client records, confidentiality of records, use of a personal computer to prepare client records, and release of client records. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:44G-12.3 to clarify that an order to disclose confidential information must come from a judge.

Subchapter 13 is reserved.

Subchapter 14 sets forth the Board's fee schedule. The Board proposes to delete a fee for change of address in N.J.A.C. 13:44G-14.1. The Board does not currently charge this fee.

The Board 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 existing rules have protected the health and welfare of the citizens of New Jersey by identifying those individuals qualified and legally authorized to engage in social work practice, and by establishing high standards of care for those who engage in the practice. The proposed amendments will enhance the effectiveness of the rules and will have a positive impact upon the health, safety, and welfare of each client who receives social work services.

Readoption of the subchapter is essential for the Board to continue to identify those individuals who are qualified to render social work services, to establish high standards of care for the profession, and to ensure that every license and certificate holder and every applicant is aware of procedures and professional responsibilities in the social work field.

Economic Impact

The rules have had, and will continue to have, an economic impact on licensees, certificants and applicants for licensure or certification. Subchapter 4 affects applicants for licensure or certification who must bear the costs of compiling and submitting the required information. The continuing education requirements of Subchapter 6 impose an economic impact on licensees and certificants in that these individuals will bear the cost of completing the required continuing education credits. Licensees and certificants also bear the costs of applying for renewal of licensure or certification, as imposed by Subchapter 7, and for submitting notice of change of address or name, as imposed by Subchapter 9. Subchapter 11 imposes costs on licensees and certificants who advertise by requiring that specific information be included in any advertisement and by requiring the retention of advertisements for three years. Licensees and certificants also incur costs in complying with the recordkeeping requirements of Subchapter 12. Subchapter 14 sets forth the fees, which the Board assesses for services rendered to its licensees and certificants. The fees set forth in the schedule have an economic impact on licensees, certificants and applicants. The proposed elimination of the change of address fee will result in a cost saving to affected licensees and certificate holders.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because there are no Federal laws or standards applicable to the rules proposed for readoption with amendments.

Jobs Impact

The Board does not believe that the rules proposed for readoption with amendments will increase or decrease the number of jobs in New Jersey.

Agriculture Industry Impact

The Board does not believe that the rules proposed for readoption with amendments will have any impact on the agriculture industry in the State.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Since licensees and certificants are individually licensed or certified by the Board, they may be considered "small businesses" under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq.

The costs imposed on small businesses by the rules proposed for readoption with amendments are the same costs that are imposed on all licensees and certificants as set forth in the Economic Impact above. The Board does not believe that licensees or certificants will need to employ any professional services to comply with the rules proposed for readoption. The proposed readoption with amendments impose compliance, reporting and recordkeeping requirements as detailed in the Summary and Economic Impact above.

As the compliance, reporting and recordkeeping requirements contained in the rules proposed for readoption with amendments are necessary to adequately regulate licensees and certificants, and protect consumers who use their services, the Board believes that the rules must be uniformly applied to all licensees and certificants and no exemptions are provided based on the size of the licensee's or certificant's business.

Smart Growth Impact

The Board does not believe that the rules proposed for readoption with amendments will have an impact upon the achievement of smart growth or upon the implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

Full text of the rules proposed for readoption may be found in the New Jersey Administrative Code at N.J.A.C. 13:44G.

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

SUBCHAPTER 1.  PURPOSE AND SCOPE; DEFINITIONS

13:44G-1.2  Definitions

The following words and terms, as used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

. . .

"Social work services" means concrete, non-clinical services, which may be performed only by a Board licensee or certificate holder. Social work services include, but are not limited to, the following:

1.-9. (No change.)

SUBCHAPTER 4.  APPLICANT QUALIFICATIONS; BOARD-APPROVED EXAMINATION; ENDORSEMENT

13:44G-4.1  Eligibility requirements; LCSW

(a) (No change.)

(b) An applicant for licensure as [a] an LCSW shall submit the following, on forms provided by the Board.

1.-4. (No change.)

5. Proof that the applicant has successfully completed the clinical examination administered by the ASWB; [and]

6. Proof that the applicant was [a] an LSW at the time that the experience in (a) above was acquired, or proof that the applicant engaged in social work practice in a setting in which licensure is not required pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:15BB-5[.]; and

7. A signed consent form acknowledging that the Board will perform a criminal history background check as a pre-requisite of licensure.

13:44G-4.2  Eligibility requirements; LSW

(a) An applicant for licensure as [a] an LSW shall submit the following, on forms provided by the Board:

1.-2. (No change.)

3. A signed consent form acknowledging that the Board will perform a criminal history background check as a pre-requisite of licensure;

[3.] 4. (No change in text.)

[4.] 5. Proof of successful completion of the [intermediate] master's level examination administered by the [American Association of State Social Work Boards] ASWB.

i. An applicant pursuing a master's degree in social work and enrolled in the last semester of an educational program accredited or in candidacy for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education is eligible to take the [intermediate] master's level examination.

13:44G-4.3  Eligibility requirements; CSW

(a) An applicant for certification as a CSW shall submit the following, on forms provided by the Board:

1. (No change.)

2. The application fee set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:44G-14.1; [and]

3. A signed consent form acknowledging that the Board will perform a criminal history background check as a prerequisite of certification; and

[3.] 4. (No change in text.)

13:44G-4.5  Endorsement

(a) (No change.)

(b) An applicant for licensure pursuant to this section shall submit the following to the Board:

1.-2. (No change.)

3. A signed consent form acknowledging that the Board will perform a criminal history background check as a pre-requisite of licensure;

Recodify existing 3. and 4. as 4. and 5. (No change in text.)

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.-7. (No change.)

8. The relationship between the supervisor and the social worker shall not violate the conflicts of interest provisions of N.J.A.C. 13:44G-10.4(b).

(b)-(f) (No change.)

SUBCHAPTER 12.  CLIENT RECORDS; CONFIDENTIALITY

13:44G-12.3   Confidentiality

(a) A social worker shall preserve the confidentiality of information obtained from a client in the course of performing social work services for the client, including after the death of a client, except in the following circumstances.

1.-2. (No change.)

3. Disclosure is required by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to [an] a judge's order.

4.-7. (No change.)

(b)-(c) (No change.)

13:44G-14.1   Fees

(a) Charges for licensure, certification and other services:

1.-12. (No change.)

[13. Change of address............................................................. 25.00]

Recodify existing 14.-17. as 13.-16. (No change in text.)



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