Section 950-1-3-.05 - Qualifications Of Therapists (Alabama Administrative Code)

§ 950-1-3-.05. Qualifications Of Therapists

(1) Degree Requirements:

(a) Persons who provide direct treatment services to Juvenile sex offenders shall have completed a graduate degree program, designed to prepare practitioners to provide clinical services, at the master's level or above from an accredited university in one of the following recognized mental health professions: psychiatry, psychology, social work, marriage and family therapists, counseling, clinical nursing specializing in mental health, or psychiatric nursing at the practitioner level.

(b) Persons who possess other graduate degrees in a related field or persons in training at the graduate level in one of the recognized mental health professions may provide Ancillary Services in a treatment program as a co-facilitator or case manager. These persons are not certified to practice independently and shall be professionally supervised by a Treatment Provider approved to provide clinical supervision.

(2) Licensure Requirements:

(a) Practitioners seeking certification for the provision of treatment services for Juvenile Criminal Sex Offender treatment must be licensed to practice independently according to their professional disciplines (e.g., counselors -LPC, social workers - PIP, etc).

(b) Persons who provide direct treatment services to Juvenile Criminal Sex Offenders under the supervision of a certified Treatment Provider shall be licensed to practice in their professional discipline by the appropriate State of Alabama licensing authority. Clinicians shall be certain that they are licensed at the appropriate level for the type of practice in which they are engaged. License eligible providers of direct therapeutic services to this population must be in the process of completing licensing procedures by their respective discipline and must be under the direct supervision of a licensed professional. Persons who are exempted by State statute from the licensure requirements can also practice with this population if they meet the other requirements, as described herein, and if they are supervised by an approved licensed professional.

(c) Students in graduate internships, license eligible professionals working with this population, license exempt State agency staff and residential program staff may work directly with clients, but only if a licensed professional supervises them and signs approval as the final authority on clinical practice and treatment planning.

(3) Experience/Training Requirements:

(a) Persons who provide independent treatment services to this population shall have considerable experience with adolescents who manifest various emotional and social problems. This experience shall be obtained through a system of intensive training and supervision of at least two (2) years duration, with one (1) year focused on the treatment of adolescent sexual offenders. Receipt of certification from a Juvenile Criminal Sex Offender certification program can be substituted for six (6) months of the clinical practice experience requirement, but only if the certification program requires an internship/practice component.

(b) Persons who provide direct treatment services to Juvenile Criminal Sex Offenders within a treatment program shall have a minimum of two (2) years of supervised experience with clinical populations of adolescents. At least one (1) year of that experience must have been with youth that were in treatment for sex offending behavior. Receipt of certification from a sex offender certification program can be substituted for six (6) months of the clinical practice experience requirement, but only if the certification program requires an internship/practice component. Persons who provide direct services to Juveniles in a treatment program are not required to have the two (2) years of experience if they are directly supervised by a professional who has at least five (5) years of clinical experience with Juveniles and who meets licensure requirements to carry out supervision, or who is certified as a provider by the Department.

(c) Specialized treatment of Juvenile sexual offenders has primarily emerged during the last decade. Treatment specialists were trained to deal with multiple problems which adolescents experience, rather than focusing specifically on sex offending. Therefore, professionals who received their graduate degrees prior to 1990, and who otherwise meet the conditions above, are not required to have one (1) year of their supervised experience to be in the treatment of youth with sexual behavior problems.

(d) Persons who have neither a required level of licensure nor the required experience with this population can work only in ancillary roles with Juvenile sex offenders until they acquire the required professional experience and licensure.

(e) Experienced community providers who intend to provide independent treatment services to this population and do not meet the full criteria outlined in section 950-1-3-.05(3a), specifically the one (1) year training and supervision working with youth with sexual behavior problems, may be approved on a probationary basis upon review and approval of a supervision plan completed in concert with an approved Treatment Provider. The supervisor shall provide sufficient supervision to ensure that the treatment provided meets the standards of care. Ordinarily, this would mean face-to-face supervision of one (1) hour per week, review of records, and written approval of the treatment services. Certification from a sex offender certification program may be substituted for up to six (6) months of the clinical practice experience requirement, but only if the certification program requires an internship/practice component. The remaining six (6) months of training and supervision must be completed with an approved Treatment Provider-supervisor. Under the auspices of the Department, the Alabama Review Panel has established a method for assisting community providers with obtaining the necessary training and supervision required for the certification process. Based on Treatment Providers' prior clinical experience and training with this population, supervision may be provided for six (6) months to one (1) year, or longer as deemed necessary. Supervision plans will be individualized and tailored to meet the training needs of independent providers. Supervision plans must be submitted within two (2) months of completed supervision.

(4) Providers of direct treatment services to youth with illegal sexual behavior problems, both independent practice and program services, shall be involved in continuing education and professional development activities appropriate to their professional practice.

(a) Approved providers are expected to obtain a minimum of eighteen (18) hours of continuing education hours within the three (3) year certification period. Continuing education must be relevant to the treatment of adolescents and compliant with respective licensing boards. Additionally, at least six (6) hours must be specific to youth with illegal sexual behaviors.

(b) The Alabama Review Panel, under the auspices of the Department, may serve as a resource to identify relevant training topics and coordinate the facilitation of such trainings. The Department may provide state-wide workshops and/or training sessions to aid community providers in meeting the continuing education requirement.

(New Rule: August 16, 2002; effective September 20, 2002. Amended by Alabama Administrative Monthly Volume XXXVII, Issue No. 02, November 30, 2018, eff. December 21, 2018.)

Author: Department of Youth Services

Statutory Authority: Title 44; Code of Ala. 1975, §§ 15-20-1 through 15-20-36; §§ 13A-6-60 through 13A-6-111.

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