SB 144-FN – AS INTRODUCED
SENATE BILL 144-FN
This bill establishes the certification of forensic counselors administered by the department of corrections.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Five
AN ACT relative to certified forensic counselors.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 New Paragraph; Commissioner of Corrections; Certification of Forensic Counselors. Amend RSA 21-H:8 by inserting after paragraph II the following new paragraph:
II-a. Oversee and administer the certification of forensic counselors established in RSA 21-H:14-a.
2 New Paragraph; Rulemaking. Amend RSA 21-H:13 by inserting after paragraph VI the following new paragraph:
VII. The certification of forensic counselors under RSA 21-H:14-a including any fees for applications and renewals.
3 New Section; Certified Forensic Counselors. Amend RSA 21-H by inserting after section 14 the following new section:
21-H:14-a Certified Forensic Counselors.
I. Any person wishing to specialize in forensic counseling, and provide treatment to criminal offenders or clients of the department of corrections, shall obtain certification as a certified forensic counselor. Applications for certification shall be made to the commissioner in writing, and on a form and in a manner prescribed by the rules adopted under RSA 541-A. Applicants for certification shall:
(a) Be possessed of good moral character, as determined by the board;
(b) Pass a written examination based on national standards established by the National Association of Forensic Counselors and its certification commission, the American College of Certified Forensic Counselors;
(c) Be at least 21 years of age;
(d) Not have been convicted of any sexual or violent offense;
(e) Have, at a minimum, a master’s degree in a behavioral science field;
(f) Have completed at least 2 years, or 4,000 hours, of full-time supervised work experience with criminal offenders or clients of the department of corrections;
(g) Have successfully completed at least 290 hours of education related to forensic counseling, and its theory, practice, or research;
(h) Have successfully completed at least 300 hours of supervised practicum experience in treating criminal offenders; and
(i) Have successfully completed 290 hours of alcohol and drug abuse education.
II. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to include the following professionals acting within the scope of their license or employment:
(a) Physicians, psychologists, clinical social workers, and mental health counselors;
(b) Members of the clergy; and
(c) Person employed by the state or federal government.
III. An applicant who meets the requirements for certification as provided in this section, and has paid the required certification fee shall be certified by the commissioner. All certifications shall expire 12 months from the date of issuance. A certification may be renewed annually upon application and payment of the required certification fee. All fees received shall be deposited in the general fund of the state. The application for renewal shall be accompanied by evidence satisfactory to the commissioner that the applicant has completed relevant professional or continued educational experience of at least 15 hours during the previous 12 months. Failure to renew a certification shall result in the forfeiture of the rights and privileges granted by the certification.
IV.(a) No person certified as a forensic counselor shall knowingly disclose any information that they have acquired from persons consulting the certified forensic counselor in his or her professional capacity as a forensic counselor, except as provided by state and federal law.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person who is not certified or specifically exempt from the provisions of this chapter to:
(1) Represent himself or herself by the title “certified forensic counselor;”
(2) Use the title “certified forensic counselor” or any other name, style, or description denoting that the person is certified as a forensic counselor;
(3) Practice forensic counseling; or
(4) Advertise or otherwise offer to perform forensic counseling or related forensic services.
V. A person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $500 for each offense.
VI. For purposes of this section:
(a) “Certified forensic counselor” means any person certified under this section who offers assessment, evaluation, and counseling services, in return for compensation, to any person who is arrested or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
(b) “Forensic counseling” means the application of scientific principles to questions and issues relating to law, the legal system, and the adversary process, whereby the practices of assessment, consultation, diagnosis, treatment planning, counseling, and psychotherapy are utilized in order to develop an understanding of criminals, including sexual offenders and batterers, criminal behavioral problems, and chronic criminal offenses; prevent, diagnose and treat developmental, emotional or behavioral problems which cause criminal behavior; conduct assessments and diagnoses for the purpose of establishing treatment, treatment goals, and objectives for offenders; and plan, implement, or evaluate treatment plans using counseling treatment interventions.
(c) “Consulting” means interpreting or reporting scientific fact or theory in counseling or psychotherapy to provide assistance to the criminal justice system, legal profession, the department of corrections, individuals, groups, or organizations in solving problems related to criminal behaviors.
(d) “Supervised work experience” means voluntary or paid work experience in which counseling or psychotherapy services are provided to offenders under the supervision of a certified forensic counselor.
4 Effective Date. This act shall take effect July 1, 2005.
SB 144 FISCAL NOTE
AN ACT relative to certified forensic counselors.
The Department of Corrections states this bill may increase state general fund revenue and expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2006 and each year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact to county and local revenue or expenditures.
The Department states the costs that will be incurred by the Department to create a program, seek administrative approval and monitor compliance is currently indeterminable, however, could be significant.