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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 SOCIAL WORK EXAMINERS

39 N.J.R. 2209(a)

Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.2 and 6.3

Click here to view Interested Persons Statement

Continuing Education

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 exception to calendar requirement.

Proposal Number: PRN 2007-180.

Submit written comments by August 3, 2007 to:

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

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

The State Board of Social Work Examiners (the Board) is proposing amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.2 to require continuing education in the subject area of social and cultural diversity. 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 Board recognizes this need to be equally compelling for mental health care professionals.

The Board proposes new N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.2(c) to require at least three of the prescribed 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.

Proposed N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.2(d) provides that the requirement for three contact hours of continuing education in the subject area of social and cultural diversity will take effect on September 1, 2008 and will be required every biennial period after September 1, 2008.

The Board is also proposing new N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.3(e), which provides for Board 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 Board is also proposing to accept a course or program in the subject area approved by the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the Professional Counselor Examiners Committee or the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee. 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.

Social Impact

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

Economic Impact

The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.2 and 6.3 should have no significant adverse economic impact upon social workers since the completion of continuing education in social and cultural competency training may be included in the prescribed continuing education hours required by the Board.

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

Agriculture Industry Impact

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

Regulatory Flexibility Statement

Currently, the Board regulates approximately 15,812 social workers. If Board 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 amendment to N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.2 imposes compliance requirements upon Board licensees/certificate holders since they must be trained in social and cultural competency to practice social work in this State. The proposed amendment also imposes compliance requirements upon licensees/certificate holders since the required training must conform to the criteria set forth 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 Board does not believe that there will be any significant, additional economic impact upon licensees/certificate holders as a result of the proposed amendments. The Board also believes that the proposed amendments should be uniformly applied to all licensees/certificate holders in order to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the general public in the practice of social work.

Smart Growth Impact

The Board 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]):

13:44G-6.2 Credit-hour requirements

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

(c) A licensee shall complete at least three of the prescribed contact hours of continuing education as required by (a) above in the subject area of social and cultural diversity. For the purposes of this subsection, social and 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 September 1, 2008, the three contact hours of continuing education, of the prescribed contact hours, 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 as set forth in (a) above.

13:44G-6.3 Content areas for continuing education credit

(a)-(d) (No change.)

(e) 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 Board. A course or program in the subject area approved by the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the Professional Counselor Examiners Committee or the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee shall be deemed acceptable by this Board.



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