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Professional Development Requirements

All licensees renewing their license will be required to show completion of 20 hours of professional development (formerly continuing education). Of these 20 hours, 3 hours must be in the areas of ethics, Board rules, or professional responsibility, and 3 hours must be in the area of cultural diversity. Furthermore, at least half of the required 20 hours of professional development must be obtained from or endorsed by national, regional, state, or local psychological associations, public school districts, regional service centers for public school districts, or psychology programs at regionally accredited institutions of higher education.


Records Retention

TSBEP just passed final adoption regarding length of record retention. Licensees are now required to retain records for seven (7) years or three (3) years past the age of majority, whichever is longer. The new rules are RETROACTIVE and apply to ALL records.

Examples: Applying the New Rules

  • If termination of therapy with a minor patient occurred just prior to their 18th birthday, records would need be kept until the individual is nearly 25 years old, i.e., ~18 years plus 7 years. That is because 7 years in this instance is longer than 3 years beyond the age of majority.
  • For a minor with whom therapy was terminated at age 13, records would need be kept until the individual is 21 years of age, i.e., 3 years beyond the age of majority because this is the longer of the two retention frames.

Attorney General Opinion: Concerning Reporting of Child Abuse if Indicated by an Adult Patient who was the Victim of the Child Abuse

The Chair of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, Tim Branaman, Ph.D., requested an opinion from the Attorney General regarding the reporting of child abuse if indicated by an adult patient who was the victim of the child abuse.

Many psychologists have questioned if child abuse should be reported if an adult patient indicates that the abuse happened to the patient when the patient was a child (less than 18 years of age).

Attorney General Opinion GA-0944 states that under subsection 261.101(b) of the Family Code, a mental health professional is not required to report abuse or neglect that the professional believes occurred during an adult patient’s childhood.

The Board believes it is important to understand that this opinion refers only to the situation where the ADULT PATIENT is indicating to the mental health professional that the ADULT PATIENT IS A VICTIM OF CHILD ABUSE and that the abuse occurred WHEN THE ADULT PATIENT WAS A CHILD.

The opinion does not speak to other scenarios. For instance it does not speak to the situation in which an adult patient indicates to a professional that the patient is a perpetrator of child abuse. The professional must report such indicated child abuse. Also, all other provisions of the child abuse reporting laws are still in effect and should be followed.


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Introduced Legislation Regarding Sexual Abuse Reporting Guidelines

Legislation filed in the Senate (SB 152, pertinent excerpt included below) by Senator Jane Nelson, would modify the Texas Family Code to require reporting of sexual abuse of an adult when the abuse was experienced during childhood. This is in response to the the AG's recent opinion. If this passes and becomes law, practitioners will be required to report such abuse.

Those concerned with this issue who would like to express either support or opposition to the change are encouraged to contact their State Senator's office and explain the basis for their support or opposition.

Pertinent Excerpt of Introduced SB 152

SECTION 4. Section 261.101, Family Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (b-1) and amending Subsection (c) to read as
  follows:
         (b-1) In addition to the duty to make a report under
  Subsection (a) or (b), a person or professional shall make a report
  in the manner required by Subsection (a) or (b), as applicable, if
  the person or professional has cause to believe that:
               (1) an adult was a victim of abuse or neglect as a
  child; and
               (2) the alleged or suspected perpetrator of the abuse
  or neglect may pose a threat of abuse or neglect to:
                     (A) another child; or
                     (B) an elderly or disabled person as defined by
  Section 48.002, Human Resources Code.
         (c) The requirement to report under this section applies
  without exception to an individual whose personal communications
  may otherwise be privileged, including an attorney, a member of the
  clergy, a medical practitioner, a social worker, a mental health
  professional, an employee or member of a board that licenses or
  certifies a professional, and an employee of a clinic or health care
  facility that provides reproductive services.


 

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