CHAPTER 143

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 190

AS AMENDED BY

SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 39, TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE AND CHAPTERS 88 AND 101, TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE BOARD OF CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK EXAMINERS

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Chapter 39, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by striking said Chapter in its entirety and substituting the following in lieu thereof:

"Chapter 39. BOARD OF CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK EXAMINERS

§3901. Objectives of the Board.

The primary objective of the Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners, to which alt other objectives and purposes are secondary, is to protect the general public (specifically those persons who are direct recipients of services regulated by this Chapter) from unsafe practices, and from occupational practices which tend to reduce competition or fix the price of services rendered. The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of practitioner competency, and to maintain certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall develop standards assuring professional competency; shall monitor complaints brought against practitioners regulated by the Board; shall adjudicate at formal complaint hearings; shall promulgate rules and regulations; and shall Impose sanctions where necessary against practitioners.

§3902. Definitions

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this Chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this Section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1) 'Board' shall mean the Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners.

(2) 'Clinical social work' shall mean a service in which a special knowledge of social resources, human capabilities and the part unconscious motivation plays in determining behavior is directed at helping people to achieve more adequate, satisfying, productive social adjustments. The application of social work principles and methods includes, but is not restricted to counseling and using applied psychotherapy of a non-medical nature with individuals, families and groups.

(3) 'Licensed clinical social worker shall mean any Individual duly licensed under this Chapter.

(4) 'Clinical practice' shall mean the practice of clinical social work for a fee in a setting other than under the auspices of a public or private nonprofit agency exempt from federal income tax under the Internal Revenue Code.

§3903. License required.

No person shall hold himself or herself out to the public as being a licensed clinical social worker qualified for practice as defined in §3907 of this Chapter, or use In connection with his or her name or otherwise assume, use or advertise, any title or description tending to convey the impression that he or she is a licensed clinical social worker unless such person has been duly licensed under this Chapter.

§3904. Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners - Appointment: composition• qualifications: term of office: suspension or removal: compensation,

a) The Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners shall consist of 7 members appointed by the Governor; Four professional members, who shall be licensed clinical social workers, and 3 public members. To serve on the Board, a public member shall not be, nor ever have been, a clinical social worker, nor a member of the Immediate family of a clinical social worker; shall not have been employed by a social work agency; shall not have had a material financial Interest in the providing of goods and services to clinical social workers; nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to clinical social work. Such public members shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public.

(b) Each member shall serve for a period of 3 years, and may succeed himself or herself for 1 additional term; provided, however, that where a member was initially appointed to fill a vacancy, such member may succeed himself or herself for only 1 additional full term. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member. Each term of office shall expire on the date specified in the appointment, except that each member shall serve until his or her successor is duly appointed.

(c) A person who has never served on the Board may be appointed to the Board 2 consecutive times; but, no such person shall thereafter be eligible for 2 consecutive appointments. No person who has been twice appointed to the Board, or who has served on the Board for 6 years within any 9 year period, shall again be appointed to the Board until an interim period of at least 1 term has expired since such person last served.

(d) A member of the Board shall be suspended or removed by the Governor for misfeasance, nonfeasance, malfeasance, or neglect of duty. A member subject to disciplinary proceedings shall be disqualified from Board business until the charge is adjudicated, or the matter is otherwise concluded. A Board member may appeal any suspension or removal to the Superior Court.

(e) No member of the Board while serving on the Board shall be a president, chairperson or other elected official of a professional association for social workers.

(f) The provisions set forth for employees in Chapter 58 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code, shall apply to all members of the Board, and to all agents appointed or otherwise employed by the Board.

(g) Board members shall be reimbursed for all necessary expenses involved in each meeting, including travel, according to the uniform policy for reimbursement of expenses established by the Division of Professional Regulation; and, in addition, shall receive not more than $50 for each meeting attended, but not more than $500 In any calendar year. After 10 meetings have been attended, the member shall not be compensated for any subsequent meetings attended in that year.

§3905. Same - Officers: meetings: quorum.

(a) In the same month of each year the members shall elect, from among their number, a President, a Vice-President and Secretary. Each officer shall serve for 1 year, and may serve no more than 2 consecutive years In the same office.

(b) The Board shall hold regularly scheduled business meetings at least once in each quarter of a calendar year, and at such other times as the President deems necessary, or at the request of a majority of the Board members.

(c) A majority of members shall constitute a quorum; and no action shall be taken without the affirmative vote of at least 4 members. Any member who falls to attend 3 consecutive meetings, or who fails to attend at least half of all regular business meetings during any calendar year, shall automatically upon such occurrence be deemed to have resigned from office and a replacement shall be appointed.

(d) Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded; and, copies shall be maintained by the Division of Professional Regulation. At any hearing where evidence is presented, a record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made. The expense of preparing any transcript shall be incurred by the person requesting it.

§3906. Same - Powers and duties

(a) The Board shall have the authority to:

(1) Formulate rules and regulations, with appropriate notice to those affected; all rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with the procedures specified in the Administrative Procedures Act of this State. Each rule or regulation shall implement or clarify a specific Section of this Chapter;

(2) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants, and to process all applications;

(1) Designate a written national examination, prepared by either the national professional association or by a recognized legitimate national testing service and approved by the Division of Professional Regulation. The examination shall be prepared for testing on a national basis, and not specifically prepared at the request of the Board for its individual use. The national examination shall be taken by persons applying for licensure, except applicants who qualify for licensure by reciprocity;

(3) Provide for the administration of all examinations, including notice and information to applicants;

(1) Evaluate certified records to determine whether an applicant for licensure, who has been previously licensed, certified, or registered in another jurisdiction to practice clinical social work, has engaged in any act or offense that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this Chapter and whether there are disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against such applicants for such acts or offenses;

(4) Grant licenses to all persons who meet the qualifications for ((censure and/or renewal of licenses;

(1) Establish by rule and regulation continuing education standards required for license renewal;

(2) Refer all complaints from licensees and the public concerning practitioners, or concerning practices of the Board or of the profession, to the Division of Professional Regulation for investigation pursuant to §8810(1) of Title 29 of the Delaware Code; and, assign a member of the Board to assist the Division in an advisory capacity with the investigation of the technical aspects of the complaint. Such member shall recuse himself or herself from the deliberations on the complaint;

(8) Determine whether or not a practitioner shall be the subject of a disciplinary hearing; and, If so, to conduct such hearing in accordance with this Chapter and the Administrative Procedures Act;

(9) Conduct hearings and issue orders in accordance with procedures established pursuant to this Chapter, Chapter 101 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code, and §8810, Chapter 88, of Title 29 of the Delaware Code. Where such provisions conflict with the provisions of this Chapter, this Chapter shall govern;

(9) Where it has been determined after a disciplinary hearing, that penalties or sanctions should be imposed, to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed;

(10) Bring proceedings in the courts for the enforcement of this Chapter. §3907. Qualifications of applicants: report to Attorney General: Judicial review.

(a) An applicant who is applying for examination and licensure under this Chapter shall submit evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board, that such person:

(1) has received a doctoral or master's degree in clinical social work from a college or university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. In addition, the applicant shall submit proof satisfactory to the Board that subsequent to the receipt of a master's degree from an accredited school of social work; the applicant has acquired 2 years of clinical social work experience acceptable to the Board. The clinical social work experience shall consist of not less than 3,200 hours, at least 1,600 hours of which shall have been under professional supervision acceptable to the Board. Acceptable supervision shall mean supervision by a licensed clinical social worker. When such supervision is not available, the applicant may be supervised by a master's level degree social worker, a licensed psychologist, or a licensed psychiatrist. Persons holding degrees from programs outside the United States or its territories must provide evidence of training and degree equivalent to accredited programs. These applicants are responsible for providing the Board with an educational credential evaluation from an agency or institution recognized by the Board for this purpose; and,

(2) has not engaged in any of the acts or offenses that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this Chapter; has no disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against him or her in any jurisdiction where the applicant previously has been, or currently is, licensed to practice clinical social work. Applicants who have been or who currently are licensed to practice clinical social work in another jurisdiction must provide the Board with a certified statement to this effect from the Board, or from a comparable agency of each jurisdiction in which the applicant has ever been licensed to practice clinical social work. Applicants for licensure in this state shall be deemed to have given consent to the release of such information and to waive all objections to the admissibility of such evidence;

(3) shall provide such information as may be required on an application form furnished by the Board. No application form shall require a picture of the applicant; require information relating to citizenship, place of birth, length of state residency; nor require personal references.

(b) Where the Board has found, to its satisfaction, that an application is fraudulent or that false information has been intentionally supplied, It shall report its findings to the Attorney General for further action.

(c) Where the application of a person has been refused or rejected, and such applicant feels that the Board has acted without justification; has imposed higher or different standards for him or her than for other applicants or licensees; or has in some other manner contributed to or caused the failure of such application, the applicant may, within 30 days of such denial, appeal the Board's decision to the Superior Court.

§3908. Examination,

(a) The Board shall administer, in the same month of each year, or at such times as are determined by the American Association of State Social Work Boards (AASSWB), or its successor, a national clinical examination prepared by the American Association of State Social Work Boards, or its successor. Such national written examination shall be obtained from and graded by the American Association of State Social Work Boards, or its successor. There is no limit on the number of times that an applicant may sit for the national examination.

(b) In the event the applicant has already taken and passed the national clinical examination prepared by the American Association of State Social Work Boards, or its successor, the certificate or other evidence of successful completion shall be accepted, and no further state examination shall be necessary.

§3909. Reciprocity.

When an applicant is licensed as a clinical social worker in another state, the Board shall accept proof that the applicant has passed the national clinical examination for clinical social workers. In addition to proof of examination results, the applicant shall meet all the qualifications for licensure under §3907 of this Chapter. The Board shall contact the licensing authority, or comparable agency, in such other jurisdiction(s) which currently or previously has licensed the applicant, and request a certified statement, to determine whether or not there are any disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against the applicant. The Board shall also contact the American Association of State Social Work Boards, or its successor, to ascertain if there are any outstanding or ongoing disciplinary actions and/or ethical violations against the applicant. In the event that a disciplinary proceeding or unresolved complaint is pending, the applicant shall not be licensed in Delaware until the proceeding or complaint has been resolved. Applicants to practice licensed clinical social work in this state shall be deemed to have given consent to the release of such information and to waive all objections to the admissibility of such evidence. Applications for licensure shall be accompanied by payment of the application fee,

§3910. Fees.

The amount to be charged for each fee imposed under this Chapter shall approximate and reasonably reflect all costs necessary to defray the expenses of the Board as well as the proportional expenses incurred by the Division of Professional Regulation in its services on behalf of the Board. There shall be a separate fee charged for each service or activity; but, no fee shall be charged for a purpose not specified in this Chapter. The application fee shall not be combined with any other fee or charge. At the beginning of each calendar year the Division of Professional Regulation, or any other state agency acting in its behalf, shall compute, for each separate service or activity, the appropriate Board fees for the coming year.

§3911. Issuance of license: renewal inactive status: reinstatement,

(a) The Board shall issue a license to each applicant who meets the requirements of this Chapter for licensure as a clinical social worker and who pays the fee established under §3910 of this Chapter.

(b) Each license shall be renewed biennially, in such a manner as is determined by the Division of Professional Regulation, and upon payment of the appropriate fee and submission of a renewal form provided by the Division of Professional Regulation, and proof that the licensee has met the continuing education requirements established by the Board. The license will expire on January 1 of the renewal year. A late fee shall be set by the Division of Professional Regulation. If a practitioner fails to renew his or her license in 1 year from the renewal date, the practitioner must re-apply for licensure.

(c)Any licensee, upon written request, may be placed in an inactive status for up to 1 year. The Board may extend the Inactive status for additional 1 year periods upon written request of the licensee. The renewal fee of a licensee on Inactive status will be prorated in accordance with the amount of time a person is on inactive status. The licensee may re-enter practice after written notification to the Board of his or her intent to do so and after satisfying all the continuing education requirements and paying the appropriate renewal fee.

(d) A former licensee, whose license has been revoked, and who subsequently Is permitted to apply for reinstatement, shall apply for a new license, and shall successfully complete the national clinical examination and shall pay all appropriate fees.

§3912. Continuing Education

The Board shall require licensees to complete at least 45 continuing education hours for each biennial licensing period. Continuing education may consist of, but not be limited to, additional professional development In the field of clinical social work, including attendance at workshops, seminars, lectures, and preparation of a first-time clinical course.

§3913. Privileged Communications,

No licensed clinical social worker may disclose any information acquired from persons consulting him or her in a professional capacity except:

(1) With the written consent of such person; or in the case of death or disability, the written consent of such person's personal representative;

(2) That a licensed clinical social worker shall not be required to treat as confidential a communication that reveals the planning of any violent crime or act;

(3) That any licensed clinical social worker who knows or reasonably suspects child abuse or neglect shall make a report to the Division of Child Protective Services of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families according to §904, Title 16 of the Delaware Code;

(1) When the person waives the privilege by bringing charges against the licensed clinical social worker.

§3914. Complaints

(a) A practitioner or member of the public desiring to file a complaint against a practitioner or licensee regulated by the Board shall file a written complaint with the Division of Professional Regulation. All complaints shall be received and investigated by the Division of Professional Regulation in accordance with the procedures as specified in §8810(i) of Title 29 of the Delaware Code. The Division shall be responsible for issuing a final written report at the conclusion of the investigation.

§3915. Grounds for Discipline: procedure,

(a) Practitioners regulated under this Chapter shall be subject to those disciplinary actions set forth in §3916 of this Chapter if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the practitioner:

(1) has employed or knowingly cooperated in fraud or material deception in order to be licensed as a clinical social worker; has Impersonated another person holding a license, or allowed another person to use his or her license, or aided or abetted a person not licensed as a clinical social worker to represent himself or herself as a clinical social worker;

(2) has illegally, incompetently or negligently practiced clinical social work:

(3) has excessively used or abused drugs either in the past or currently; excessive use or abuse of drugs shall mean any use of narcotics, controlled substances, or illegal drugs without a prescription from a licensed physician, or the abuse of alcoholic beverage such that it impairs his or her ability to perform the work of a clinical social worker;

(4) has been convicted of a felony or any offense which would limit the ability of the practitioner to carry out his or her professional duties with due regard for the health and safety of clients;

(4) has violated a lawful provision of this Chapter, or any lawful regulation established thereunder;

6) has had his or her license, certification, or registration as a clinical social worker suspended or revoked, or other disciplinary action taken by the appropriate licensing authority in another jurisdiction; provided, however, that the underlying grounds for such action in another jurisdiction have been presented to the Board by certified record; and the Board has determined that the facts found by the appropriate authority in the other jurisdiction constitute one or more of the acts defined In this Chapter. Every person licensed as a clinical social worker in this state shall be deemed to have given consent to the release of this information by the Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners or other comparable agencies in another jurisdiction and to waive all objections to the admissibility of previously adjudicated evidence of such acts or offenses;

(7) has failed to notify the Board that his or her license as a clinical social worker in another state has been subject to discipline, or has been surrendered, suspended or revoked. A certified copy of the record of disciplinary action, surrender, suspension or revocation shall be conclusive evidence thereof.

(b) Where a practitioner fails to comply with the Board's request that he or she attend a hearing, the Board may petition the Superior Court to order such attendance, and the said Court or any judge assigned thereto shall have jurisdiction to issue such order.

(c) Subject to the provisions of this Chapter and Subchapter IV of Chapter 101, Title 29 of the Delaware Code, no license shall be restricted, suspended or revoked by the Board, and no practitioner's right to practice shall be limited by the Board, until such practitioner has been given notice and an opportunity to be heard in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

§3916. Disciplinary sanction.

(a) The Board may impose any of the following sanctions, singly or in combination, when it finds that any of the conditions or violations set forth in §3915 of this Chapter applies to a practitioner regulated by this Chapter:

(1) Issue a fetter of reprimand;

(2) Censure a practitioner;

(3) Place a practitioner on probationary status, and require the practitioner to:

a. Report regularly to the Board upon the matters which are the basis of the probation;

a. Limit all practice and professional activities to those areas prescribed by the Board; and/or

b. Continue or renew his or her professional education until the required degree of skill has been attained in those areas which are the basis of the probation;

(4) Suspend any practitioner's license;

(5) Revoke a practitioner's license.

(b) The Board may withdraw or reduce conditions of probation when it finds that the deficiencies which required such action have been remedied.

(c) The Board may temporarily suspend a practitioner's license in advance of a final adjudication, during the appeals process, but only in cases where there is a clear and immediate danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public if the licensee is allowed to continue to practice. Such suspension may be appealed in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

(d) Where a license has been suspended due to a disability of the licensee, the Board, at a Board meeting, may reinstate such license if the Board is satisfied that the licensee is able to practice with reasonable skill and safety.

(d) As a condition of reinstatement of a suspended license, or removal from probationary status, the Board may impose such disciplinary or corrective measures as are authorized under this Chapter.

§3917. Hearing procedures.

(a) If a complaint is filed with the Board pursuant to §8810(i) of Title 29 of the Delaware Code, alleging violation of 0915 of this Chapter, the Board shall set a time and place to conduct a hearing on the complaint. Notice of the hearing shall be given and the hearing conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 101 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code.

(b) All hearings shall be informal without use of rules of evidence, If the Board finds, by a majority vote of all members, that the complaint has merit, the Board shall take such action permitted under this Chapter as it deems necessary. The Board's decision shall be in writing and shall Include Its reasons for such decision. The Board's decision shall be mailed immediately to the practitioner.

(a) Where the practitioner Is in disagreement with the action of the Board, he or she may appeal the Board's decision to the Superior Court within 30 days of service, or of the postmarked date of the copy of the decision mailed to him or her. Upon such appeal the Court shall hear the evidence on the record. Stays shall be granted in accordance with §10144 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code.

§3918. Penalties.

(a) Where the Board has reason to believe that a person is practicing clinical social work within this State without having lawfully obtained a license, or that a person previously licensed under this Chapter N engaged in a practice regulated by this Chapter, notwithstanding that his or her license has been suspended or revoked, the Board shall submit a written complaint to the Division of Professional Regulation for Investigation. If the Investigation confirms such unlawful practice, the Board shall formally warn such person. If the offense continues, the Board shall make a formal complaint to the Attorney General and may issue a cease and desist order. The complaint and/or order shall include all evidence known to, or in the possession of, the Board.

(b) Where the Board has placed a practitioner on probationary status under certain restrictions or conditions, and the Board has determined that such restrictions or conditions are being or have been violated by the practitioner, the Board, after a hearing on the matter, may suspend or revoke the practitioner's license.

(c) Where a person not currently licensed as a clinical social worker under this Chapter is convicted of unlawfully practicing clinical social work in violation thereof, such offender, upon the first offense, shall be fined not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000 for each offense, and the offender shall pay all costs. Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. The Court shall order all client fees received for unlawful service to be refunded.

(1) Justices of the peace in the county in which the offense is alleged to have occurred shall have jurisdiction over any violation of this Chapter.

(2) Any person convicted of any such offense before a Justice of the peace or in any court of competent jurisdiction, other than the Superior Court, may appeal to the Superior Court in the county in which the conviction was had upon giving bond in the sum of $200 to this State with surety satisfactory to such justice or trial court; provided, however, that the appeal is taken and bond given within 7 days from the time of the conviction.

(e) A violation of this Chapter shall be cause for revocation of any license issued thereunder, notwithstanding that the same violation may constitute a misdemeanor or felony."

Section 2. Amend paragraph (24), subsection (a), §8810, Title 29 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection and substituting the following in lieu thereof:

"(24) Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners, as set forth in Chapter 39 of Title 24:"

Section 3. Amend subsection (15), §10161, Chapter 101, Title 29 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection and substituting the following in lieu thereof:

"(15) Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners;"

Section 4. Members of the Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners currently serving will continue to serve until the expirations of their terms.

Approved July 6, 1995