CHAPTER 14

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 82

AS AMENDED BY

HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE BOARD OF MENTAL HEALTH AND CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY PROFESSIONALS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend § 3031, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 3031. Definitions.

As used in this subchapter:

(1) "Direct supervision" is face to face consultation, on a regularly scheduled basis, between a licensed associate counselor of mental health (LACMH) and a licensed professional counselor of mental health (LPCMH) as required by the nature of the work of the LACMH. The supervising LPCMH is responsible for insuring that the extent, kind and quality of the services rendered by the LACMH are consistent with the person's education, training and experience.

(2)(1) "Licensed associate counselor of mental health" (LACMH) is an individual licensed as an associate counselor of mental health under this chapter who is obtaining experience under the professional direct supervision of a LPCMH licensed professional counselor of mental health or other health professional approved by the Board for the purpose of becoming licensed as a professional counselor of mental health.

(3)(2) "Licensed professional counselor of mental health" (LPCMH) is an individual licensed as a professional counselor of mental health under this chapter who publicly offers Professional Mental Health Counseling to render to individuals, groups, organizations or the general public a service involving the application of clinical counseling principles, methods or procedures and the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal and social adjustment.

(3) “Professional Direct Supervision” is face to face consultation, on a regularly scheduled basis, between a supervisee and a licensed professional counselor of mental health (LPCMH) or other behavioral health professional approved by the Board as required by the nature of the work of the supervisee. The Board approved supervisor is responsible for insuring that the extent, kind and quality of the services rendered are consistent with the supervisee's education, training and experience.

(4) "Professional Mental Health Counseling" is the application of clinical counseling principles, methods or procedures including the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal and social adjustment.

(4) "Professional direct supervision" is supervision by a licensed professional counselor of mental health.

Section 2. Amend § 3032, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 3032. Qualifications of applicant.

(a) An applicant who is applying for licensure under this subchapter shall complete a Board approved application, submit the application fee, and supply evidence verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board that the applicant:

(1) Is certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. (NBCC), or the Academy of Clinical Mental Health Counselors (ACMHC), or other national mental health specialty certifying organization acceptable to the Board.

(2) Has completed a master's degree and subsequent to completing the degree has acquired the equivalent of 2 years of experience in professional counseling acceptable to the Board. The professional counseling experience must consist of not less than 3,200 hours obtained over a period of not more than 4 years, at least 1,600 hours of which shall have been under professional direct supervision acceptable to the Board. When such professional direct supervision is not available, a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist or a licensed physician specializing in psychiatry may supervise the applicant. An applicant may substitute 30 graduate semester hours, or more, attained beyond the master's degree, for up to 1,600 hours of the required experience, provided that such hours are clearly related to the field of counseling and are acceptable to the Board. In no case shall the applicant have less than 1,600 hours of required post master's degree professional direct supervision.

(1) Has received a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours in clinical mental health counseling or received a graduate degree equivalent to clinical mental health counseling from a recognized institution as determined by the Board;

(2) Has acquired the equivalent of 2 years of experience in supervised professional mental health counseling acceptable to the Board. The professional mental health counseling experience must consist of not less than 3,200 hours obtained over a period of not less than two years and not more than 4 years, at least 1,600 hours of which shall be supervised clinical experience acceptable to the Board;

(3) Has passed the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or other examination acceptable to the Board;

(3)(4) Has not received any administrative penalties regarding the applicant's actions as a licensed, registered or certified mental health provider, including but not limited to fines, formal reprimands, license suspensions or revocation (except for license revocations for nonpayment of license renewal fees), probationary limitations, and/or has not entered into any "consent agreement" which contains conditions placed by a Board on the applicant's professional conduct, including any voluntary surrender of a license. The Board, after a hearing, may determine whether such administrative penalty is grounds to deny licensure.

(4)(5) Does not have any impairment related to drugs or alcohol or a finding of mental incompetence by a physician that would limit the applicant's ability to act as a professional counselor of mental health or associate counselor of mental health in a manner consistent with the safety of the public.

(5)(6) Shall not have a criminal conviction nor pending criminal charge relating to an offense, the circumstances of which substantially relate to actions as a licensed professional counselor of mental health or associate counselor of mental health. Applicants who have a criminal conviction or pending criminal charge shall request appropriate authorities to provide information about the conviction or charge directly to the Board in sufficient specificity to enable the Board to make a determination whether the conviction or charge is substantially related to actions as a licensed professional counselor of mental health or associate counselor of mental health. However, after a hearing or review of documentation demonstrating that the applicant meets the specified criteria for a waiver, the Board, by an affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum, may waive this paragraph (a)(5)(6), if it finds all of the following:

a. For waiver of a felony conviction, more than 5 years have elapsed since the date of the conviction. At the time of the application the applicant may not be incarcerated, on work release, on probation, on parole or serving any part of a suspended sentence and must be in substantial compliance with all court orders pertaining to fines, restitution and community service.

b. For waiver of a misdemeanor conviction or violation, at the time of the application the applicant may not be incarcerated, on work release, on probation, on parole or serving any part of a suspended sentence and must be in substantial compliance with all court orders pertaining to fines, restitution and community service.

c. The applicant is capable of practicing licensed professional counselor of mental health or associate counselor of mental health in a competent and professional manner.

d. The granting of the waiver will not endanger the public health, safety or welfare.

e. The applicant has not been convicted of a felony sexual offense.

(6)(7) Has not been penalized for any willful violation of the code of ethics adopted by the Board or the code of ethics of the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) or its successor or other similar professional mental health counseling standard.

(7)(8) Has not been convicted of a felony sexual offense.

(8)(9) Has submitted, at the applicant's expense, fingerprints and other necessary information in order to obtain the following:

a. A report of the applicant's entire criminal history record from the State Bureau of Identification or a statement from the State Bureau of Identification that the State Central Repository contains no such information relating to that person.

b. A report of the applicant's entire federal criminal history record pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation appropriation of Title II of Public Law 92-544 (28 U.S.C. § 534). The State Bureau of Identification shall be the intermediary for purposes of this section and the Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals shall be the screening point for the receipt of said federal criminal history records.

An applicant may not be licensed as a licensed professional counselor of mental health until the applicant's criminal history reports have been produced. An applicant whose record shows a prior criminal conviction may not be certified by the Board unless a waiver is granted pursuant to paragraph (a)(5) of this section. The State Bureau of Identification may release any subsequent criminal history to the Board.

(b) If the Board finds that an applicant has been intentionally fraudulent or has intentionally supplied false information, the Board shall report its findings to the Attorney General for further action.

(c) Where an application is refused or rejected and the applicant feels the Board has acted without justification, has imposed higher or different standards for the applicant than for other applicants or licensees or has in some other manner contributed to or caused the failure of such application, the applicant may appeal to the Superior Court.

(d) All individuals licensed as a licensed professional counselor of mental health in this State shall be required to be fingerprinted by the State Bureau of Identification every 10 years, at the licensee's expense, for the purposes of performing subsequent criminal background checks. Licensees shall submit by January 1, 2013, at the applicant's expense, fingerprints and other necessary information in order to obtain a criminal background check.

Section 3. Amend § 3033, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 3033. Qualifications of applicant for licensed associate counselor of mental health.

(a) An applicant who is applying for licensure as an associate counselor of mental health under this chapter shall complete an application form, submit the required fee, and furnish evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board, that such person has met all the requirements established in this subchapter for licensed professional counselors of mental health, except the requirements dealing with required experience.

(b) A plan for professional direct supervision of the associate counselor of mental health shall be submitted to and approved by the Board prior to the applicant's acquiring the professional mental health counseling experience necessary for license licensure as a professional counselor of mental health.

(c) The associate counselor of mental health license shall be effective for a period of 2 years. The license may be renewed once up to two times.

(d) A LACMH may submit an application for LPCMH upon fulfillment of the experience requirements of this subchapter.

Section 4. Amend § 3034, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 3034. Reciprocity.

(a) Upon payment of the application fee and submission and acceptance of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board shall grant a license to each applicant who is certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors or other national mental health specialty certifying organization acceptable to the Board who shall present proof of current licensure in good standing in another State, the District of Columbia or territory of the United States, whose standards for licensure are substantially similar to those of this State. A "license in good standing" is defined in § 3032(a)(3)-(6) of this title.

(b) An applicant who is licensed in a jurisdiction whose standards are not substantially similar to those of this State but who has held a license in good standing for a minimum of 5 years in the jurisdiction from which the applicant is applying for reciprocal licensure and who is certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors or the Academy of Clinical Mental Health Counselors, or other national mental health specialty certifying organization acceptable to the Board and who has passed the NCE or other examination acceptable to the Board may be licensed by the Board, provided the applicant meets all other qualifications for reciprocity.

(c) An applicant who is licensed in a jurisdiction whose standards are not substantially similar to those of this State and who lacks the minimum years of licensure as defined in subsection (b) of this section above may apply for licensure as an associate counselor of mental health, in order to obtain the experience necessary to fulfill the requirements of this subchapter.

(d) In lieu of the documentation required by subsection (a) of this section, an applicant may submit a certificate of professional qualification as a licensed professional counselor of mental health from a credential bank approved by the Board. The Board shall identify acceptable credentialing organizations in its rules and regulations. In addition, the Board may require the applicant to submit such supplemental information as it deems necessary to assure that the applicant meets the qualifications for licensure.

Section 5. Amend § 3044, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 3044. Qualifications of applicant.

(a) Applicants for chemical dependency professional license by certification under this chapter shall complete an application form, pay the required fee and provide evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board, that the applicant meets the following requirements:

(1) Received a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a minimum of 30 graduate semester hours in counseling or subjects closely related to counseling.

(2) Subsequent to receiving the master's degree has acquired 3,200 hours of counseling experience, 1,600 hours of which must be under the supervision of a licensed chemical dependency professional. Where supervision by a licensed chemical dependency professional is not available, a licensed clinical social worker, licensed psychologist, licensed professional counselor of mental health or a licensed physician specializing in chemical dependency may supervise the applicant. Of the 1,600 hours of supervised counseling experience, at least 100 hours must be face-to-face consultation between the supervisor and supervisee, which may take place in individual and/or in group settings, as follows:

a. Individual supervision, which consists of 1-to-1, face-to-face meetings between supervisor and supervisee, provided, the entire 100 hour requirement may be fulfilled by individual supervision.

b. Group supervision, which consists of face-to-face meetings between supervisor and no more than 6 supervisees; provided, no more than 40 hours of group supervision shall be acceptable toward the 100 hour requirement.

(3) Is certified by the National Association for Addictions Professionals, (NAADAC) as a national certified addictions counselor (NCAC or MAC), by the Delaware Certification Board (DCB Inc.) as a certified alcohol and drug counselor, or by a certifying organization acceptable to the Board.

(4) Has not received any administrative penalties regarding the applicant's actions as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional, including but not limited to fines, formal reprimands, license suspensions or revocation (except for license revocations for nonpayment of license renewal fees), probationary limitations, and and/or has not entered into any "consent agreement" which contains conditions placed by a Board on the applicant's professional conduct, including any voluntary surrender of a license. The Board, after a hearing, may determine whether such administrative penalty is grounds to deny licensure.

(5) Does not have any impairment related to drugs or alcohol or a finding of mental incompetence by a physician that would limit the applicant's ability to act as a chemical dependency professional in a manner consistent with the safety of the public.

(6) Does not have a criminal conviction nor pending criminal charge relating to an offense, the circumstances of which substantially relate to actions as a licensed chemical dependency professional. Applicants who have a criminal conviction or pending criminal charge shall request appropriate authorities to provide information about the conviction or charge directly to the Board in sufficient specificity to enable the Board to make a determination whether the conviction or charge is substantially related to actions as a licensed chemical dependency professional. However, after a hearing or review of documentation demonstrating that the applicant meets the specified criteria for a waiver, the Board, by an affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum, may waive this paragraph (a)(6), if it finds all of the following:

a. For waiver of a felony conviction, more than 5 years have elapsed since the date of the conviction. At the time of the application the applicant may not be incarcerated, on work release, on probation, on parole or serving any part of a suspended sentence and must be in substantial compliance with all court orders pertaining to fines, restitution and community service.

b. For waiver of a misdemeanor conviction or violation, at the time of the application the applicant may not be incarcerated, on work release, on probation, on parole or serving any part of a suspended sentence and must be in substantial compliance with all court orders pertaining to fines, restitution and community service.

c. The applicant is capable of practicing licensed chemical dependency services in a competent and professional manner.

d. The granting of the waiver will not endanger the public health, safety or welfare.

e. The applicant has not been convicted of a felony sexual offense.

(7) Has not been penalized for any wilful willful violation of the code of ethics adopted by the Board or the code of ethics of a professional organization of chemical dependency professionals.

(8) Has not been convicted of a felony sexual offense.

(9) Has submitted, at the applicant's expense, fingerprints and other necessary information in order to obtain the following:

a. A report of the applicant's entire criminal history record from the State Bureau of Identification or a statement from the State Bureau of Identification that the State Central Repository contains no such information relating to that person.

b. A report of the applicant's entire federal criminal history record pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation appropriation of Title II of Public Law 92-544 (28 U.S.C. § 534). The State Bureau of Identification shall be the intermediary for purposes of this section and the Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals shall be the screening point for the receipt of said federal criminal history records.

An applicant may not be licensed as a chemical dependency professional until the applicant's criminal history reports have been produced. An applicant whose record shows a prior criminal conviction may not be certified by the Board unless a waiver is granted pursuant to paragraph (a)(6) of this section. The State Bureau of Identification may release any subsequent criminal history to the Board.

(b) If the Board finds that an applicant has been intentionally fraudulent or has intentionally supplied false information, the Board shall report its findings to the Attorney General for further action.

(c) Where an application is refused or rejected and the applicant feels the Board has acted without justification, has imposed higher or different standards for the applicant than for other applicants or licensees or has in some other manner contributed to or caused the failure of such application, the applicant may appeal to the Superior Court.

(d) All individuals licensed as a chemical dependency professional in this State shall be required to be fingerprinted by the State Bureau of Identification every 10 years, at the licensee's expense, for the purposes of performing subsequent criminal background checks. Licensees shall submit by January 1, 2013, at the applicant's expense, fingerprints and other necessary information in order to obtain a criminal background check.

Section 6. Amend § 3051, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows and by redesignating accordingly:

§ 3051. Definitions.

(a) "Direct supervision" (Marriage and Family Therapy Training (?)) is face to face consultation, on a regularly scheduled basis, between a licensed associate marriage and family therapist (LAMFT) and a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) as required by the nature of the work of the LAMFT. The supervising LMFT is responsible for insuring that the extent, kind and quality of the services rendered by the LAMFT are consistent with the person's education, training and experience.

(b) "Licensed associate marriage and family therapist" (LAMFT) is an individual licensed as an associate marriage and family therapist under this chapter who is obtaining experience under the professional direct professional supervision for the purpose of becoming licensed as a marriage and family therapist.

(c) "Licensed marriage and family therapist" (LMFT) is an individual licensed as a marriage and family therapist under this chapter who offers to individuals, couples, families or groups professional marriage and family services either directly to the general public or through public or private organizations.

(d) "Marriage and family therapy services" includes the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of interpersonal relationships, including marriage and family systems, and involves the professional application of psychotherapy, assessment instruments, counseling, consultation, treatment planning, and supervision in the delivery of services to individuals, couples and families.

(e) "Professional direct supervision" is face to face consultation, on a regularly scheduled basis, between a supervisee and a qualified, licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) supervision by a licensed marriage and family therapist, or an individual holding the "approved supervisor" designation from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) or a candidate for the "approved supervisor" designation , who is acceptable to the Board. or other behavioral health professional approved by the Board. The Board approved supervisor is responsible for insuring that the extent, kind and quality of the services rendered are consistent with the supervisee's education, training and experience.

Section 7. Amend § 3052, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 3052. Qualifications of applicant.

(a) An applicant who is applying for licensure under this subchapter shall complete a board-approved application, submit the application fee, and supply evidence verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board that the applicant:

(1) Has completed a master's or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from a recognized educational institution with a minimum of 45 semester credits, or a graduate degree in an allied field from a recognized educational institution and graduate level work which is the equivalent to a master's degree in marriage and family therapy, as determined by the Board.

(2) Following completion of the master's degree has successfully completed 2 calendar years of work experience in Marriage and Family Therapy supervised marriage and family therapy experience under professional direct supervision. The experience must consist of not less than 3,200 hours obtained over a period of not more than 4 consecutive years, at least 1,600 of which shall have been under direct professional supervision be supervised clinical experience acceptable to the Board. When professional direct supervision is not available, a licensed clinical social worker, licensed psychologist, licensed professional counselor of mental health, or licensed physician specializing in psychiatry may supervise the applicant upon approval by the Board.

(3) Has passed the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) standardized examination or other examination acceptable to the Board.

(4) Has not been the recipient of any administrative penalties regarding the applicant's actions as a marriage and family therapist, including, but not limited to, fines, formal reprimands, license suspensions or revocations (except for license revocations for nonpayment of license renewal fees), probationary limitations, and/or has not entered into any "consent agreements" which contain conditions placed by a Board on the applicant's professional conduct, including any voluntary surrender of a license. The Board, after a hearing, may determine whether such administrative penalty is grounds to deny a license.

(5) Does not have any impairment related to drugs, alcohol or a finding of mental incompetence by a physician that would limit the applicant's ability to act as a licensed marriage and family therapist in a manner consistent with the safety of the public.

(6) Does not have a criminal conviction record, or pending criminal charge, relating to an offense the circumstances of which are substantially related to actions as a licensed marriage and family therapist. Applicants who have criminal conviction records or pending criminal charges shall request appropriate authorities to provide information about the conviction or charge directly to the Board in sufficient specificity to enable the Board to make a determination on whether the conviction or charge is substantially related to actions as a licensed marriage and family therapist. However, after a hearing or review of documentation demonstrating that the applicant meets the specified criteria for a waiver, the Board, by an affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum, may waive this paragraph (a)(6), if it finds all of the following:

a. For waiver of a felony conviction, more than 5 years have elapsed since the date of the conviction. At the time of the application the applicant may not be incarcerated, on work release, on probation, on parole or serving any part of a suspended sentence and must be in substantial compliance with all court orders pertaining to fines, restitution and community service.

b. For waiver of a misdemeanor conviction or violation, at the time of the application the applicant may not be incarcerated, on work release, on probation, on parole or serving any part of a suspended sentence and must be in substantial compliance with all court orders pertaining to fines, restitution and community service.

c. The applicant is capable of practicing licensed marriage and family therapy services in a competent and professional manner.

d. The granting of the waiver will not endanger the public health, safety or welfare.

e. The applicant has not been convicted of a felony sexual offense.

(7) Has not been penalized for any wilful willful violation of the code of ethics adopted by the Board or a code of ethics of a recognized professional marriage and family therapy organization.

(8) Meets all other additional requirements as may be required by the Board in its rules and regulations.

(9) Has not been convicted of a felony sexual offense.

(10) Has submitted, at the applicant's expense, fingerprints and other necessary information in order to obtain the following:

a. A report of the applicant's entire criminal history record from the State Bureau of Identification or a statement from the State Bureau of Identification that the State Central Repository contains no such information relating to that person.

b. A report of the applicant's entire federal criminal history record pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation appropriation of Title II of Public Law 92-544 (28 U.S.C. § 534). The State Bureau of Identification shall be the intermediary for purposes of this section and the Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals shall be the screening point for the receipt of said federal criminal history records.

An applicant may not be licensed as a marriage and family therapist until the applicant's criminal history reports have been produced. An applicant whose record shows a prior criminal conviction may not be certified by the Board unless a waiver is granted pursuant to paragraph (a)(6) of this section. The State Bureau of Identification may release any subsequent criminal history to the Board.

(b) If the Board finds that an applicant has been intentionally fraudulent or has intentionally supplied false information, the Board shall report its finding to the Attorney General for further action.

(c) Where an application has been refused or rejected and the applicant feels that the Board has acted without justification, has imposed higher or different standards for the applicant than for other applicants or licensees or has in some other manner contributed to or caused the failure of such application, the applicants may appeal to the Superior Court.

(d) All individuals licensed as a marriage and family therapist in this State shall be required to be fingerprinted by the State Bureau of Identification every 10 years, at the licensee's expense, for the purposes of performing subsequent criminal background checks. Licensees shall submit by January 1, 2013, at the applicant's expense, fingerprints and other necessary information in order to obtain a criminal background check pursuant to paragraph (a)(10) of this section.

Section 8. Amend § 3053, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 3053. Qualifications of applicant for licensed associate marriage and family therapist.

(a) An applicant who is applying for licensure as an associate marriage and family therapist under this chapter shall submit a completed application form, pay the required fee, and furnish evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the Board that such person has met all the requirements established in this subchapter for licensed marriage and family therapists, except the requirements dealing with required experience.

(b) A plan for professional direct supervision of the associate marriage and family therapist shall be submitted to and approved by the Board prior to the applicant's acquiring the marriage and family therapy experience necessary for license as a marriage and family therapist.

(c) The associate marriage and family therapist license shall be effective for a period of 2 years. The license may be renewed once up to two times.

(d) A LAMFT may submit an application for LMFT upon fulfillment of the experience requirements of this subchapter.

Section 9. Amend § 3054, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 3054. Reciprocity.

(a) Upon payment of the application fee and submission and acceptance of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board shall grant a license to each applicant who shall present proof of current licensure in good standing in another state, the District of Columbia or territory of the United States, whose standards for license are substantially similar to those of this State. A license in good standing is defined in § 3052(a)(4)-(8) of this title.

(b) An applicant who is licensed in a jurisdiction whose standards are not substantially similar to those of this State but who has held a license in good standing for a minimum of 5 years in the jurisdiction from which the applicant is applying for reciprocal license, and who is certified by the AAMFT or other national marriage and family therapist certifying organization has taken and passed the AMFTRB National Examination or other MFT licensing exam acceptable to the Board may be licensed, provided the applicant meets all other qualifications for reciprocity.

Approved May 2, 2017