Good news and bad news, I suppose, from today’s meeting of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. The most important good news surrounds the 90-day rule for supervised experience between graduation and registration as an associate. Good stuff first!
The 90-day rule is safe
Back in November, the BBS Policy Committee voted to get rid of the 90-day rule. That rule — explained in more detail here — allows experience gained between graduation and associate registration to count toward license requirements for family therapists (MFTs) and clinical counselors (PCCs).
The decision to kill the 90-day rule wasn’t made lightly, but to the committee it seemed like the price they would have to pay to move Assembly Bill 93 forward. That bill includes a lot of other very positive changes in supervision standards, and concerns about the 90-day rule had the bill stuck in a legislative committee.
Thankfully, CAMFT stepped in with compromise language that protects the 90-day rule for most MFTs and PCCs, and should give the bill a path forward. The compromise would keep the 90-day rule for those whose employers require them to do Live Scan fingerprinting prior to gaining experience.
The BBS voted to move forward using CAMFT’s compromise plan, with some technical amendments. If AB93 passes through the legislature and is signed by the governor, supervision standards would change on January 1, 2019. Among the changes: Supervisors would need 15 hours of supervision training, and triadic supervision (one supervisor with two supervisees) could be counted as individual supervision.
California is leading on portability
Through its Portability Committee (which is meeting tomorrow), the BBS is actively taking a leadership role in addressing portability issues for the master’s level professions. Their draft language reflects a strong value on trusting other states’ boards, which would be a welcome shift. Applicants licensed in good standing in another state for at least two of the last five years would simply need to take a 12-hour course in California Law & Ethics, pass California’s Law & Ethics Exam, and fulfill a couple of additional CE requirements. (MFT applicants would probably also need to take California’s MFT Clinical Exam, a difficult issue which the committee sidestepped in its current discussion by starting with an LPCC framework.)
Details will still need to be fleshed out, and it’s a long way from draft committee language to state law. Still, the BBS should be applauded for taking a leadership role on portability.
Now the less-good stuff.
The California MFT Clinical Exam is discussed — privately
Today’s meeting started with a nearly two-hour closed-session discussion of the MFT Clinical Exam. We’ve talked about the exam’s problems here before. The pass rate fell off a cliff at the beginning of 2017, the state’s Office of Professional Examination Services gave some speculative excuses that all fall flat, and I pleaded for this to be given more attention in November.
We have no idea what was specifically discussed during today’s closed session. The board chair began the open session with a paragraph-long prepared statement, concluding, “We the board are confident that concerns about passing rates have been addressed by OPES.” There was no statement about how the concerns had been addressed, or even whether any problem was actually acknowledged. Suffice to say we don’t share the BBS’s confidence, and are now looking at additional remedies.
Application processing times are creeping upward
Here is the most current BBS data on application processing times. Bear in mind that these are *business* days, so 53 days equals about 10.5 weeks (possibly more, if there are holidays in there).
The upward creep isn’t great news, but some perspective is appropriate here. It wasn’t that long ago that applicants for MFT licensure were waiting eight months or more (see page 37 of the PDF) for their hours to be approved. By comparison, 53 days is pretty reasonable. And we remain hopeful that the streamlining of experience hours for licensure will make it easier for the board to process those applications. That would further reduce wait times.