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  1. Why did the Department of Human Services Separate its Licensing Functions?
  2. What is Licensing?
  3. How Can I Find Licensing Laws and Regulations?
  4. How Can I Get Help Understanding the Regulations?
  5. How Can I Get the Regulations Changed?
  6. What is the Difference Between Licensing and Accreditation?
  7. How Can I Find out About Professional Licensing for Individuals?

  1. Why did the Department of Human Services Separate its Licensing Functions?
    The Department of Human Services Office of Licensing was originally established in 2002 with four operating units: Child Care & Youth Residential Licensing, Developmental Disabilities Licensing, Mental Health Licensing and Resource Family Licensing.

    When the new Department of Children and Families was established in July 2006, a separate Office of Licensing was created for the regulation of programs serving children and youth. The Child Care & Youth Residential Licensing unit and the Resource Family Licensing unit are now part of the Department of Children and Families Office of Licensing.

    The Developmental Disabilities Licensing unit and the Mental Health Licensing unit remain within the Department of Human Services Office of Licensing.
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  2. What is Licensing?
    Licensing is the regulation of programs and services to ensure compliance with minimum standards.

    Licensing establishes a baseline level below which no licensed program is legally permitted to operate.

    Licensing is authorized by State law and administered by a State agency, which develops regulations specific to each type of program, in consultation with representatives of the regulated programs and the general public.

    Programs regulated by the Department of Human Services Office of Licensing may be licensed, designated or approved, based on the laws and regulations for each type of program.
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  3. How Can I Find Licensing Laws and Regulations?
    Laws (also known as statutes) are identified as New Jersey Statutes Annotated (N.J.S.A.). Regulations (also known as rules, requirements or standards) are identified as New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.). For N.J.S.A. and N.J.A.C. citations for programs serving persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries, click on DHS licensing laws and regulations.

    For licensing laws and regulations for child care programs, youth residential programs, youth mental health programs and resource family homes, please contact the Office of Licensing in the Department of Children and Families.

    For program standards for mental health programs, please contact the Division of Mental Health Services in the Department of Human Services.

    For the text of the licensing laws, please contact the State Legislature. For the text of licensing regulations for programs serving persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries, click on DHS licensing laws and regulations.

    To obtain a printed copy of licensing regulations for programs serving persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries, please call one of the Department of Human Services Office of Licensing telephone numbers.
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  4. How Can I Get Help Understanding the Regulations?
    For information about licensing regulations for programs serving persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries, please call one of the Department of Human Services Office of Licensing telephone numbers.
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  5. How Can I Get the Regulations Changed?
    Under the State "sunset" law, all regulations must be reviewed at least every five years to ensure that they are reasonable and necessary. Amendments or new rules may be developed at any time in order to comply with new laws, improve services or meet changing community needs.

    Amendments and new rules are developed in consultation with representatives of the regulated programs and the general public. If you would like to participate in the process of developing amendments or new rules for programs serving persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries, please call one of the Department of Human Services Office of Licensing telephone numbers.

    All proposed changes to regulations must be published in the New Jersey Register, an official publication of the Office of Administrative Law, and made available for public comment. To find out which proposals are currently available for public comment, click on DHS Rule Proposals.
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  6. What is the Difference Between Licensing and Accreditation?
    Licensing is a legally mandated government function designed to ensure the protection of persons served by regulated programs.

    Accreditation is a private, voluntary function designed to promote recognition of program quality. Accrediting bodies usually require programs to be licensed before they can become accredited. For some types of programs, the Office of Licensing may substitute the standards of the accrediting body for certain selected licensing regulations.

    Programs regulated by the Office of Licensing may be accredited by one or more of the following accrediting bodies:

    Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accredits health care organizations, including ambulatory care, assisted living, behavioral health care, health plans, home care, hospitals, laboratory services, and long term care.

    Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services (COA) accredits organizations that provide child- and family-services and behavioral health care.

    Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accredits rehabilitation and human services providers.

    National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) accredits managed care organizations.
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  7. How Can I Find out About Professional Licensing for Individuals?
    The Department of Human Services licenses programs, not individuals. Information about individual professional licensing is available from other State agencies:

    For information about licensing for psychologists, social workers, doctors, nurses, alcohol/drug counselors and other professions, contact the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

    For information about licensing for teachers, contact the Office of Licensing and Credentials in the Department of Education.
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