SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

Vol. 6 No. 2

In This Issue

Board Chair Update

Who knew how things would have changed so drastically since our January newsletter?

Due to COVID-19, our way of thinking about our professions, how we conduct business, interact with one another, and provide care has been completely revolutionized.

To those of you who had to quickly embrace telehealth, handle the increased demand for help, or be concerned with the uncertainty and well-being of your own family and loved ones, you all have our deepest sympathy and support.

It is in times like these that mental health professionals stand out to address the vital and essential necessities in our communities.

In fact, as a testament to our essential work, despite the shutdown and the health mandate restrictions that our BBS offices were asked to follow, the past few months have seen us busier than ever. While addressing the pandemic hasn't been easy, we have worked hard to quickly redirect and make necessary changes.

After the mandated shutdown, our staff set up to work from home while continuing to serve the thousands of inquiries and concerns. With restrictions, we have reopened our offices to the public with protocols in place to protect the staff and anyone that may come in. We were able to obtain waivers to address the challenges licensees and registrants faced. At the same time, exam testing sites were getting equipped to serve in a safe and sterilized environment. We also began accepting official transcripts electronically. The Board has quickly reorganized our meetings, holding them via Zoom to accommodate the numerous petition hearing requests and full board meetings to make sure your input and participation continues.

At our June virtual board meeting, we began our work with the acknowledgement of the tragic murder of Mr. George Floyd. I think it’s important for the Board to share our solidarity with the protests, but also to recognize the emotional distress that these incidents are causing in the marginalized communities we aim to serve. It is the Board’s duty to stand on the side of justice, to denounce racism in all its institutionalized forms, and to uplift the voices of our Black and Brown counselors, associates, students, and consumers.

The past few months have also seen many changes within the membership of our Board. We welcomed the new arrivals of John Sovec, LMFT member; Wendy Strack, public member; Ross Erlich, public member; Susan Friedman, public member; Kelly Ranasinghe, public member; and Christopher Jones, LEP member. We also congratulate Crystal Anthony, LCSW member, and John Sovec, LMFT member, on their confirmation by the Senate by a unanimous vote, and Max Disposti, public member, and Christina Wong, LCSW member, on their election as Board chair and vice chair. However, every time we have newcomers, it means that we are also getting ready to say our goodbyes.

After eight years of service, Dr. Leah Brew, LPCC member, will end her service on the Board. Her leadership role has influenced us in many aspects of our work, and her professional role as a professor of ethics and the first LPCC member on the Board shaped much of our legislative work. Elizabeth (Betty) Connolly, LEP member, also concluded eight years of service on the Board. Betty’s leadership as Board chair for two years shaped our legislative proposals and well represented the needs and the experience of LEP licensees.

We encourage you to participate in our upcoming virtual board and committee meetings. We hope to see you there.

Max Disposti
Board Chair

Discussion of Temporary Law Waivers Due to COVID-19

Pursuant to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-39-20, during the current state of emergency, the director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs may waive statutory or regulatory requirements with respect to a professional license issued pursuant to Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code (BPC). This includes professional licenses issued by the Board of Behavioral Sciences. The director has granted the Board’s request to temporarily waive a number of laws in order to address barriers created by the pandemic. Information about relevant waivers, executive orders, and any updates or extensions will continue to be listed on the homepage of the Board’s website—www.bbs.ca.gov—in the red "COVID-19 waivers and FAQs for BBS" box.

The Board’s current law waivers, as of the date of publication, are as follows:

  1. Face-to-Face Training and Supervision
    This waiver, effective May 6, 2020, allows Associates in any setting to gain their required weekly supervisor contact via two-way, real-time videoconferencing (telephone supervision is not permitted). Current law does not specifically address supervision of Trainees via telehealth; however, the Board is interpreting the law to also allow Trainees to receive supervision via telehealth. It remains the responsibility of the supervisor and the school to determine if supervision via telehealth is appropriate for a particular Trainee given individual circumstances.

    This waiver also waives the law that requires MFT Trainees and PCC Trainees to provide “face-to-face” mental health services in order to complete their required practicum hours, and instead specifies that they may meet this requirement via telehealth. (This is already permitted under the Board’s interpretation of the law; however, a waiver was requested for clarification purposes.)

    This waiver is effective until November 2, 2020.

  2. Law and Ethics Exam for Renewal of Associate Registration
    This waiver states that Associates whose registrations expire between March 31, 2020, and October 31, 2020, do not need to attempt the California Law and Ethics Examination in order to renew their registration. These Associates will need to attempt the exam at a later date—see the FAQ in the red "COVID-19 waivers and FAQs for BBS" box on the Board’s homepage for more information.

  3. Continuing Education for Renewal of License
    This waiver states that Board licensees whose licenses expire between March 31, 2020, and October 31, 2020, do not need to complete continuing education (CE) in order to renew their license. These licensees will need to complete their CE at a later date—see the FAQ in the red "COVID-19 waivers and FAQs for BBS" box on the Board’s homepage for more information.

  4. Eligibility Period to Retake Examinations
    This waiver extends the examination eligibility period for applicants who failed the clinical examination (for LMFT, LCSW, or LPCC applicants) or the written examination (for LEP applicants), and whose one-year eligibility to retake the examination expired between March 31, 2020, and July 1, 2020. Instead of having one year to retake the examination, these individuals will instead have 18 months. The 18-month timeframe starts on the date the applicant was notified of failing the exam. See the FAQ in the red "COVID-19 waivers and FAQs for BBS" box on the board’s homepage for more information.

  5. Passage of Law and Ethics Exam for Issuance of Subsequent Registration
    This waives the requirement that Associates pass the California Law and Ethics Exam before a subsequent registration number may be issued. The waiver applies to all Associates who are in their last year of renewal, if the registration expires between March 31, 2020, and October 31, 2020. The California Law and Ethics Exam will still need to be passed by the next renewal date—see the FAQ in the red COVID-19 box on the Board’s homepage for more information.

  6. Practicum Enrollment for MFT Trainees
    Under current law, MFT Trainees are permitted to gain experience hours outside of practicum, but they must be enrolled in a practicum course to counsel clients. However, the law permits MFT Trainees to counsel clients while not enrolled in practicum if the period of lapsed enrollment is less than 90 calendar days, and if that period is immediately preceded by enrollment in a practicum course and immediately followed by enrollment in a practicum course or completion of the degree program.

    This waiver extends the lapsed enrollment period from 90 days to 180 days. The waiver applies to MFT Trainees who were last enrolled in a practicum course between March 31, 2020, and August 31, 2020. These Trainees are permitted to counsel clients while not enrolled in practicum if the period of lapsed enrollment is less than 180 calendar days, and if that period is immediately preceded by enrollment in a practicum course and immediately followed by enrollment in a practicum course or completion of the degree program. See the FAQ in the red "COVID-19 waivers and FAQs for BBS" box on the Board’s homepage for more information.

  7. Reactivating or Restoring a Retired, Inactive, or Canceled License: Continuing Education and Renewal or Delinquency Fee
    This waiver permits an individual with a retired, inactive, or canceled license who wishes to restore their license in order to help with the current state of emergency, to do so during this time without being subject to the normally required CE requirements and renewal and delinquency fees. This only applies to individuals whose license has been retired, inactive, or canceled for no more than five years. Visit the following link for more information: https://covid-19.dca.ca.gov/BackToActive.

Building Cross-Racial Bridges in a Racially Divided World
By Jonathan Maddox, LMFT Board Member

Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted as famously saying, “We will either learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools.” That relational truth is as true today, as it was when he was walking the earth more than 50 years ago. In 2020, we find ourselves in what appears to be a nation that is more divided than I can recall it being in my lifetime. Whether we are holding firm to our political affiliations or sounding the call for social justice due to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbury and many others, which were reprehensible and racially motivated, we are still a nation divided along racial lines.

When we look at the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Latino and Black communities, the glaring health disparities that exist between Black and white Americans, and the ways in which “white privilege” and “implicit bias” provide opportunities for white Americans that Black and Brown people do not experience; we must admit that something is broken. As I look at the origins of this nation and the ways in which Black/Brown people have been exploited, it is no wonder that we are where we are today.

Let’s take a brief look at the experience of Black people in this country over the past 401 years: We have experienced atrocities at the hands of people who adhere to white-supremacist thinking and anti-Black sentiment since we arrived here. From the barbaric Middle Passage to the institution of forced enslavement to post-Reconstruction terrorism to the Black Codes to Jim Crow to the Industrial Prison Complex, there have always been structural barriers with practical implementations to ensure that Black people are denied the ability to enjoy the promises of this country’s founding documents. These barriers have left a legacy of mistrust and animosity between Black and white citizens of this nation, and structural barriers that have excluded Black people from many of the privileges enjoyed by white people. This legacy of mistrust between the races is what widens the cavern that exists between those who must learn to work together if we are to rebuild the bridges which will support improved cross-racial relationships, and by extension provide real equity and opportunity for those who are adversely impacted by systems that are designed to benefit white people.

In spite of all of the tragedies and traumas that Black/Brown folks have experienced, we have always been resilient, fueled by a deep faith in God, a strong commitment to family, and a sturdy collection of traditions that have defined and preserved us as a people (family reunions, Big Mama’s B-Day celebrations, cotillions, weddings, graduations, and so on). These cultural pillars, combined with the political will to fight for equality, have been inspired by hope and they continue to fuel the hope that drives our ongoing pursuit of justice and equality. This hope is also rooted in the American dream that is articulated in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” As I look at this portion of the text, I see a blueprint for building cross-racial bridges that will help us restore our ability to acknowledge and defend our common humanity.

The writers of this founding document tell us three things that are pivotal for us to acknowledge and defend if we are going to improve the condition of race relations in America and preserve this country that we love. It tells us first of all that it is common sense that all men and women are created equal, and you may not adhere to a religious orientation, but I would assume that no matter how you believe we arrived here, you would agree that we are all equal. The Founding Fathers chose these specific words in order to build a vision for what was possible in this fledgling nation, as they forcefully separated from the British empire. They were demanding equality in the face of oppression and exploitation: Does that sound familiar?

Did you know that scientists have determined that humans share 99.9% of their DNA with other humans, meaning that 0.1% difference is what accounts for genetic variation among us. These same scientists actually posit that there is greater variation within races than across them. What does that tell us? It tells us the building blocks of our humanity remind us that we are all basically the same—it does not matter where you were raised, what language you speak, the color of your skin: We are all the same. We are equal, and that is what we all must strive toward: building equality for all Americans based on our common humanity.

Secondly, according to this declaration we have been “endowed with certain unalienable rights.” This assertion reminds us that we all have been provided with an asset, quality, or ability that cannot be taken or given away, and which support activities that are morally correct, honorable, and just. While we are very aware of the structural barriers that exist for many people, it is important for us to know that they are theoretically available to us all.

My grandfather, who was the rock of our family and modeled for me a strong work ethic, commitment to care for my family, and to provide opportunities for others, died in 2015. He was the one who gave all of his children and grandchildren nicknames and he and my grandmother provided the home where our family spent all the major holidays.

As I got older, I used to love sitting down and listening to him talk about his experience growing up in Louisiana in the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. He described an unequal and racist system that disadvantaged Black people and provided structural opportunities for whites, which was Jim Crow. He would often say that he needed to leave the South for two reasons: one, he wanted to provide opportunities for his family to advance economically, and secondly, he felt as if he would be killed if he stayed there.

While this system of inequality has been abolished, the structural barriers still exist and it is going to require all of us to fight the good fight to ensure that all of us are afforded the opportunity to experience the benefits described in the Declaration of Independence (home ownership, quality education for our children, safe living environments, access to high quality health care, etc.) This is going to require all of us to labor in the vineyard where we have been planted, until this theory is actualized for us all.

Lastly, this vision reminds us that these rights include “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” One of my friends, Walter Hoye, is famous for stating, “Without life, you have nothing.” What a profound, yet simple statement: Without a heartbeat and a pulse, none of the other opportunities are accessible. I personally don’t believe that the Founders were limiting their thoughts to just physical life; they were also referring to a quality of life. This quality of life that must be filled with freedom and the ability to pursue the things that make life worth living.

At the advent of COVID-19, all of the gyms closed, which made it almost impossible for me to exercise in the way that I was accustomed. So I went to my local bike shop and purchased a bike so I could continue my exercise routine. Little did I know how much I would love “wind therapy.” When I get on my bike and leave my house, I experience a sense of freedom, joy, and exhilaration that I had not experienced before: It was one of the glasses of lemonade that I was able to make out of the lemons that the stay at home order provided to me. This is also a reminder to us all that no matter our race or ethnicity, we have the right to pursue and build a life that provides enjoyment for us and those that we hold dear. Hopefully, we are all committing to build cross-racial relationships! As therapists, we have access to tools and resources to continue the hard work of bridge-building across racial differences. Here are few ideas that can help us move forward with our construction project:

  1. Develop some racial reconciliation goals. All of us were trained in graduate school how to write treatment plans with our clients. This plan is designed to focus our interventions, clarify our treatment destination, and to ensure that the client’s voice is integrated into the care we provide. Well, if we are going to grow as bridge-builders, we must also have goals that direct our equity efforts and remind us of the progress that we have made. This is probably the most important part of the process because we need a clear destination, if we are going to make meaningful progress.
  2. Recognize that these are difficult conversations and it takes practice and skill to be able to sensitively participate in them. Commit to developing the ability to push beyond your comfort zone by developing cross-racial relationships, being insightful about your biases and reactions, and developing a curiosity about others. These simple yet challenging adjustments can lead to increased understanding of ourselves and those who are different from us, which will lead to a deeper compassion in our relationships.
  3. Identify a network of support to help you navigate this journey. There is a famous quote that says when I walked alone, I walked fast, but when I walked with others, I walked far. We all need other people to encourage us and hold us accountable while we engage in this equity marathon. These should be people who provide a safe place for us to share our successes and failures and, most importantly, they should be engaging in their own racial-equity work.

Another one of Dr. King’s famous quotes (and he had a lot of them) reminds us, “We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” He is right: We cannot escape from one another; we will either build bridges of cross-racial reconciliation which leads to a better world for us all, or we will perish together as fools!

Jonathan Maddox is an LMFT who has been in private practice since 2004, and has been the training and internship coordinator at San Francisco County Behavioral Health Services since 2014, where he has served in several positions since 2006 including program director and clinical supervisor. He was a mental health consultant for Contra Costa County Mental Health Services from 2005 to 2006, a therapist at the East Bay Agency for Children from 1998 to 2000, and a military police officer in the U.S. Army from 1989 to 1992.

‘Old’ LMFT and LPCC Supervised Experience Categories (Option 2) Expire December 31, 2020

Are you gaining hours of supervised experience toward LMFT or LPCC licensure? If so, there is an important deadline approaching at the end of 2020. Senate Bill 620 (Chapter 262, Statutes of 2015) streamlined the categories of experience hours that qualify for licensure. The legislation allowed the prior set of experience categories to remain available, but only until December 31, 2020.

In order to qualify under the “old” set of categories (Option 2), an Application for Licensure and Examination must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2020. Otherwise the applicant must fully qualify under the new set of categories (Option 1).

Note: There is no mixing and matching between categories—applicants must fully qualify under the new set of categories (Option 1—no deadline), or apply under the old set of categories (Option 2) by the deadline.

For more information on the two options, please see the following on the www.bbs.ca.gov website:

Notice to Psychotherapy Clients Required Effective July 1, 2020
Assembly Bill 630 (Chapter 229, Statutes of 2019) requires all BBS-licensed and registered mental health counselors, as well as unlicensed mental health counselors working in an exempt setting, to provide a notice to each client that provides information on where the client can file a complaint about the counselor. This new requirement took effect July 1, 2020.

For new clients, counselors are required to provide this notice prior to initiating psychotherapy services. For existing clients, counselors must provide the notice as soon as possible after July 1, 2020. The notice must be in at least 12-point font and in substantially the following form:

NOTICE TO CLIENTS

The Board of Behavioral Sciences receives and responds to complaints regarding services provided within the scope of practice of marriage and family therapists, licensed educational psychologists, clinical social workers, or professional clinical counselors. You may contact the Board online at www.bbs.ca.gov or by calling (916) 574-7830.

The Board has developed an FAQ—found online at
www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/ab630.pdf—to provide more information about this requirement, including information on how unlicensed mental health counselors need to comply.

Six Hours of Suicide Risk Assessment and Intervention Training

Are you ready to meet this new requirement?

Applicants for each of the Board’s four license types, as well as all current licensees, will be required to complete at least six hours of coursework or supervised experience in suicide risk assessment and intervention beginning January 1, 2021. The Board recommends preparing for this requirement now by either locating your documentation of completion, or by taking a course or obtaining supervised experience as described below. Do not submit proof of completion to the Board at this time. We will let you know when documentation is required to be submitted.

Who Must Comply: 

  • Individuals submitting an LCSW, LMFT, or LPCC Application for Licensure or an LEP Examination Eligibility Application on or after January 1, 2021.
  • All BBS licensees (LCSW, LEP, LMFT, or LPCC) must comply by the licensee’s first expiration date that occurs on or after January 1, 2021. All BBS licensees reactivating or reinstating a license on or after January 1, 2021, will also need to comply.

Qualifying Coursework or Supervised Experience:

The six-hour requirement must be met using one of the following methods:

  • Coursework included in the degree program that qualified you for licensure. You will need to obtain a written certification from the registrar or training director of the school or degree program stating that the coursework was either required by the degree program during the time you attended, or was part of the coursework you completed.
  • Included within your supervised experience. You will need to obtain a written certification from the program’s director of training, or from your primary supervisor, stating that the training was included within your supervised experience.
  • Taking a continuing education (CE) course. The course must be taken from a provider that meets the Board’s CE provider requirements. You will need to obtain a certificate of completion.

There is no age limit for the course or supervised experience.

See AB 1436 for further information: Visit https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov  and go to the "Bill Information" tab; enter "AB 1436" as the bill number and choose "2017-2018" as the session year.

California State Loan Repayment Program
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) is pleased to announce that the California State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) is now accepting applications.

The SLRP provides grants toward repayment of qualifying educational loans in order to increase the number of healthcare providers practicing in federally designated California Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA)—outlined at https://oshpd.ca.gov under "Data and Reports"—and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Eligible applicants must work at an approved SLRP practice site (see the sites at https://eapp.oshpd.ca.gov) for a period of service in exchange for the grant.

This year, OSHPD and SLRP are putting a particular focus on mental-health care providers. The application deadline is September 15, 2020. Details about the program are available at https://oshpd.ca.gov under the “Loan Repayments, Scholarships, and Grants” tab. Information on other similar programs is available on the Board’s website—www.bbs.ca.gov—under “Resources”, ”General Info”, then “Recommended Links."

Update on PROPOSED Supervision Regulations
Major changes are on their way for supervisors and supervisees gaining experience toward licensure. The Board’s Supervision Committee met over a two-year period, working closely with stakeholders to meet the goals of strengthening, clarifying and modernizing supervised experience requirements, and creating consistency in requirements between the professions. The committee’s work initially resulted in legislation that streamlined the experience categories required for LCSW, LPCC, and LMFT licensure (SB 620, Chapter 262, Statutes of 2015). A second bill changed some of the supervisor qualifications and responsibilities, and made other related changes (AB 93, Chapter 743, Statutes of 2018).

The next step in implementing the committee’s work is to take the regulations that were developed through the review and approval process. We are hopeful that they may become effective by January 1, 2021.

If approved, the major changes will be as follows:

  • A “Supervision Agreement” will be required. This would replace the “Supervisor Responsibility Statement” form and would apply to new supervisory relationships only.

A form will be provided on the Board’s website when the regulations take effect.

  • Updated supervisor training requirements. Fifteen hours will be required for new supervisors (with updated content requirements), and six hours of continuing professional development (CPD) will be required each renewal cycle. CPD will allow for certain activities other than just continuing education courses to count.
  • Supervisor yearly assessments of the strengths and limitations of the supervisee will be required.
  • Effective January 1, 2022, all supervisors must notify the Board that they are supervising and confirm that they meet the qualifications to supervise. This would be done by submitting a “Supervisor Self-Assessment” form.

The Board will provide more information for supervisors once the regulations are officially approved and as the implementation date approaches. If you would like to review the text of the proposed supervision regulations, they can be found at “Regulations” under “About Us” and “Law Changes” at www.bbs.ca.gov.

Graduating On or After January 1, 2020? Make Your Hours Count!
Are you graduating on or after January 1, 2020? If so, there’s a new law that affects your ability to gain hours immediately after graduation before your Associate registration has been issued. You will only be permitted to count post-degree hours of experience gained after your degree award date if (1) you apply for Associate registration within 90 days of your degree award date, (2) your workplace required you to complete Live Scan fingerprinting prior to gaining those hours, and (3) you retain a copy of your completed Live Scan form for later submission to the Board. For more information on this requirement, see the FAQ on the Board's website: Visit www.bbs.ca.gov and enter "90-Day Rule" in the search bar.

Ten Tips for a Smoother Licensing Process

  1. Submit a complete application packet.
    Whether you are submitting an application for registration or licensure, make sure you have included all of the required paperwork, as described in the application’s instructions. When sending important documents to BBS, keep a copy for your records. To confirm receipt, consider using a mailing service with a tracking feature.
  2. Create a BreEZe account.
    BreEZe is DCA’s online service portal that allows you to verify a license or registration, renew your license or registration, submit a change of address, or request a duplicate certificate. BreEZe is the fastest and easiest way to complete the renewal process. You can sign up for a BreEZe account by going to www.breeze.ca.gov.
  3. Apply for your Law and Ethics Exam as soon as possible.
    As a registrant, you are required to have taken the Law and Ethics Exam a minimum of one time per renewal cycle until you pass the exam. If you have passed the Law and Ethics Exam, you are no longer required to take the exam to renew. During your first renewal period, you may take the Law and Ethics Exam every 90 days. During your second renewal period, you will have to provide proof of completion of a 12-hour law and ethics course when submitting a retake application.
  4. Understand your testing responsibilities.
    Take time to read your candidate handbook and ensure you understand the rules of the exam so you are prepared for your test day. Also, be aware of the requirements for canceling or rescheduling an exam appointment. The candidate handbook also contains information that will assist you in understanding what to expect on the exam. Candidate handbooks and exam information can be found on the “Exams” tab of the Board’s website.
  5. Renew your registration timely.
    Once you are registered with BBS, you must renew your registration every year to count supervised hours and weeks of supervision toward the licensure requirements. If your registration expires or lapses, you will not be able to count supervised experience or weeks of supervision gained for the period in which the registration was delinquent. Remember, your registration is valid for six years and that you must apply for a subsequent registration number if you need to maintain a registration after six years.
  6. Maintain your Clinical Exam eligibility and avoid losing experience hours.
    Once you have been approved for the Clinical Exam, you must take the Clinical Exam at least once per year until you pass to maintain your eligibility. If you fail to take the Clinical Exam within a year, you will have to reapply for licensure and could lose hours of experience that are more than six years old at the time of the new application.
  7. Apply for your initial license to be issued.
    Once you have completed all requirements for licensure, the final step is to apply for your license and pay the initial license fee. Registered Associates may use the BreEZe system to submit an Upgrade from Associate Application. All other applicants will send in the Request for Initial License Issuance provided on the Board’s website. After your application is processed, you will receive your license and certificate in the mail. You will also be able to check the status of your new license at breeze.ca.gov.
  8. Gain an understanding of supervised experience requirements.
    Make sure all of the hours you gain will count toward licensure by understanding the laws that apply, including the necessary experience categories, supervisor and supervision requirements, employer requirements, and documentation requirements. Carefully read the FAQs for Associates and Guide to Supervision available under the "Applicant" tab on the Board’s website.
  9. Email your questions to the Board.
    Emailing is the fastest and most efficient method to communicate with the Board. By emailing your question, Board staff can research and respond more thoroughly. This will also give you the advantage of being able to retain the response in writing.
  10. Keep informed about what is happening at BBS.
    It is important that you keep informed of possible upcoming changes to laws and regulations that may affect your license or your pathway to licensure. Changes are posted to the Board’s website at bbs.ca.gov

You may sign up for our email subscriber’s list (on our website under "Subscribe" at the top of the page.) to receive notice of major updates or you can follow us on Facebook ("behavioralsciencesboardca" at www.facebook.com) or Twitter ("@bbs_california" at www.twitter.com).

Board Member Update
At its meeting in July 2020, the Board elected Max Disposti, public member, as the new Board chair for 2020, and Christina Wong, LCSW, as the vice chair. We congratulate both of them and look forward to their leadership over the next year. In other news, we are happy to welcome six new Board members! Of course, that means we must say goodbye to greatly valued members whose terms have expired.

Exiting Board Members
It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to two Board members who have made some incredible contributions over the past eight years and will be greatly missed.

Dr. Leah Brew was the Board’s very first LPCC Board member. Even before her service as a Board member, she contributed her expertise as a Texas licensee and professor in the CSU Fullerton counseling program to the implementation of the new LPCC license type, helping to develop the licensing program. She served as the chair of the Board’s Supervision Committee, and as chair of the License Portability Committee. Both of these Committees resulted in proposals that significantly modernized and strengthened California law. Dr. Brew was also a member of the Policy and Advocacy Committee and the Exempt Setting Committee.

Elizabeth “Betty” Connolly, LEP member, served as chair of the Board from May 2018 to June 2020, and served as vice chair of the Board from August 2017 to May 2018. Ms. Connolly also served as a member of the Supervision Committee, the Exempt Setting Committee, the Policy and Advocacy Committee, and the Sunset Review Committee. As the Board’s sole LEP member, Ms. Connolly brought a unique and integral perspective to each of these groups. Under her leadership, the Board undertook significant projects that led to transformative changes in California law including license portability legislation, and legislation that now allows LEPs to supervise a portion of Associate hours.

New Board Members
Christopher C. Jones, LEP member, was appointed by the governor on June 29, 2020. Chris is also a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, and is the president and CEO of Dynamic Interventions, the first incorporation of LEPs in the history of California. He earned his M.A. and certificate of advanced graduate study in school psychology from Tufts University. He worked as a school psychologist until he opened Dynamic Interventions in 2006. Chris was awarded the Suzanne Fisher Leadership Award and the Outstanding School Psychologist Award by the California Association of School Psychologists (CASP). He has been recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the William S. Hart Union High School District for his innovative work. He currently sits on the CASP board of directors as the LEP Committee chair.

Ross Erlich, public member, was appointed by the Assembly on February 6, 2020. Ross practices criminal law in Southern California with an emphasis in complicated criminal matters including bail, probation violations, and other complex white-collar matters. He was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and is a founding member of the Jobs Vision Success Emerging Leaders Board (formerly known as Jewish Vocational Services) and serves on the Steering Committee for the Rautenberg's New Leaders Project through the Jewish Federation. Ross was a former executive board member, and current member, of Bet Tzedek's New Leadership Council and a co-chair of Govern for California's San Fernando Valley Courage Committee. Ross has been selected to the Super Lawyers Rising Stars list for both 2019 and 2020.

John Sovec, LMFT member, was appointed by the governor on December 11, 2019. John is a therapist in private practice in Pasadena who specializes in supporting the needs of the LGBTQ community. He is the clinical consultant for The Life Group LA, adjunct faculty at Phillips Graduate Institute, and guest lecturer at Alliant University and USC School of Social Work. Mr. Sovec is a nationally recognized expert on creating affirmative LGBTQ support, and is the author of multiple publications and speaks at conferences nationwide. He provides training for community agencies, schools, non-profits, and provides professional consultation on LGBTQ competencies.

Wendy Strack, public member, was appointed by the governor on January 29, 2020. She is currently the CEO of Wendy J Strack Consulting LLC, with more than 20 years of experience in creating and delivering award winning advocacy, communications, and outreach programs. Wendy is a member of California Women Lead, Women’s Transportation Seminar, and the California Association of Public Information Officials. She also holds certifications in basic and advanced public information officer/joint information center/joint information systems from the California Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Wendy has an M.P.A. from the University of Southern California. She has also served on the City of Riverside Human Resources Board since 2018.

Susan Friedman, public member, was appointed by the governor on March 5, 2020. Ms. Friedman was an Emmy-award winning network news producer for NBC News from 1968 to 1977 and from 1982 to 2008. She was a reporter and producer for the local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) from 1977 to 1982. She is a founding member of the Alliance for Children’s Rights board of directors and vice chair and commissioner of the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission.

Kelly X. Ranasinghe, public member, was appointed by the governor on June 29, 2020. He is currently a deputy county counsel in Imperial County, practicing child welfare law in juvenile court. Previously, Mr. Ranasinghe was a partner at the law firm of Henderson and Ranasinghe LLP and a senior program attorney at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, where he focused on domestic violence and child sex trafficking. He is a member of the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) and a certified peer mental health facilitator through the NAMI Connections program. Mr. Ranasinghe is also a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children and a board-certified child welfare law specialist. Mr. Ranasinghe earned a juris doctor from California Western School of Law in 2005.


Stay Informed about What’s Happening with BBS!
Are you an applicant, registrant, licensee, or consumer who would like increased access to BBS activities and updates? Join our email subscriber’s list! You can also follow the Board on Facebook and Twitter. Go to www.bbs.ca.gov to connect!


ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

Citation and Fine—An administrative action used for minor violations. Citations and fines are public information but are not considered disciplinary action.

ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS March 1–July 31, 2020

Name

License Number

Fine Amount

Moreno, Hector M

AMFT 96811

$500

Kelly, Eileen

LMFT 30191

$1,000

Craine, Patricia Diane

LMFT 27751

$1,000

Cummings, John

AMFT 64018

$5,000

Herro, Erica

Unlicensed

$5,000

Sladon, Noelle

LMFT 36197

$1,000

Fisher, Rebecca Ann

ACSW 69014

$1,000

Simonetta, Bonnie Brower

LCSW 24689

$2,500

Contreras, Allen F.

ASW 69710 (Revoked)

$5,000

Schwartz, Mark F.

LMFT 50344

$2,000

Barton, Leslie C

LMFT 34611

$500

Hernandez, Priscilla Norma

AMFT 47304

$5,000

Petersen, Allison R

LMFT 48950

$2,500


ONLINE IS EASIER AND FASTER!
A Variety of Online Services Now Available via BreEZe

For faster service, manage your registration and license online! BreEZe provides services for applicants, registrants, and licensees that can save you weeks of processing time compared to paper applications. Services available include the ability to:

Renew a license or registration instantly (up to 90 days in advance).

Submit an address change (takes effect instantly).

Request a replacement registration or license (allow two weeks for delivery).

Verify a license and obtain proof of renewal status.

Obtain a certification of licensure.

Apply for your initial Law and Ethics Exam.

Submit an application to change from Inactive to Active status.

Pay with a major credit card in a secure environment.

Consumer complaints can also be filed on BreEZe at www.breeze.ca.gov.

Helpful Tips

If you are new to the Board’s online services, there are tutorial videos available to help you (select “Help Tutorials” on www.breeze.ca.gov). Tutorial videos include:

An overview of BreEZe services.

How to search for a license.

How to register for BreEZe.

What to do if you forgot your password or user ID.

How to submit a renewal.

How to update license information.

How to make a payment.

If you need additional assistance using BreEZe, call technical support at (855) 227-9633. 

EXPLANATION OF DISCIPLINARY TERMS AND ACTIONS

Accusation—Formal statement of charges against the registrant/licensee.

Statement of Issues—Formal statement of reasons why an application for registration/license should be denied.

Effective Date—The date the disciplinary decision goes into effect.

Revoked—The registration/license is canceled, voided, rescinded. The right to practice is terminated.

Revoked, Stayed, Probation—“Stayed” means the revocation is postponed. Professional practice may continue so long as the registrant/licensee complies with specific probationary terms and conditions. Violation of probation may result in the revocation that was postponed.

Suspension—The registrant/licensee is prohibited from practicing for a specific period of time.

License Surrender—To resolve a disciplinary action, the registrant/licensee has given up his or her registration/license—subject to acceptance by the Board. The right to practice is terminated.

FORMAL DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

Anabel Barajas

ASW 76153

CRIMINAL CHARGES/ CONVICTION

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of five years with terms and conditions.

Effective: July 9, 2020

Charles Hamilton Benson

LMFT 41356

Unprofessional Conduct

Action; License surrender

Effective: May 27, 2020

Paul Canova Boice

AMFT 83597

Unprofessional Conduct

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of five years with terms and conditions.

Effective: July 9, 2020

John Robert Christie

ASW Applicant

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: Registration surrender

Effective: April 1, 2020

Veronica Denise Clanton- Higgins

ASW Applicant

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of four years with terms and conditions.

Effective: July 9, 2020

Erin E. Collins

ASW Applicant

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of three years with terms and conditions.

Effective: July 9, 2020

Leah Sue Edwards-Conrad

AMFT 97866

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of five years with terms and conditions.

Effective: May 27, 2020

Patricia Wiltshire Delfino

LCSW 25107

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: License surrender

Effective; May 27, 2020

Jefferson T. Edmonds

LMFT 36498

Unprofessional Conduct

Action: License surrender

Effective: April 1, 2020

Gretchen Marie Eger

ASW 60999

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License surrender

Effective: May 27, 2020

Patricia Ann Evans

LMFT 48187

Unprofessional Conduct

Action: License surrender

Effective: April 1, 2020

Michelle Harris- Feller

LMFT 38073

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of five years with terms and conditions.

Effective: July 9, 2020

Margaret Ann Fetting

LCSW 15044

Unprofessional Conduct

Action: License surrender

Effective: May 27, 2020

Karen Joelle Fraggi

AMFT 115103

Unprofessional Conduct

Action: License Surrender

Effective: May 27, 2020

Kristine Rose Grant

LMFT 33765

Criminal Conviction/Charges

Action: License surrender

Effective May 27, 2020

Cristine Guerrero

LCSW 80840

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of 3 years with terms and conditions.

Effective: July 9, 2020

Jaron Daniel Haynes

LMFT 88574

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of five years with terms and conditions.

Effective: May 27, 2020

Shannon M. Helmle

LMFT 84307

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: Revocation

Effective: May 27, 2020

Amanda Hipp-Renteria

AMFT 112497 & APCC 6192

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of five years with terms and conditions.

Effective: April 1, 2020

Christina Marie Johnson

AMFT 103129 & LMFT Applicant

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of five years with terms and conditions.

Effective: April 1, 2020

Aja Juanita Jones

AMFT 118052 & APCC 7611

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License surrender

Effective: April 1, 2020

Maria Kahros

ASW Applicant

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of three years with terms and conditions.

Effective: July 9, 2020

Sharon Kay Keyes

LCSW 21834

Unprofessional Conduct

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of five years with terms and conditions.

Effective April 1, 2020

Tabitha Ann Lopez

APCC Applicant

Criminal Charges/ Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of five years with terms and conditions.

Effective: May 27, 2020

Caitlin Markham

LMFT 112314

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: License surrender

Effective May 27, 2020

Jose Margarito Martinez

AMFT 104695

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: Revocation

Effective: July 9, 2020

Kelly Lee Montoya

LMFT 77134

Unprofessional Conduct

Action: Revocation

Effective: April 1, 2020

Dawn Brook Olmstead

LMFT 111469

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of five years with terms and conditions.

Effective: May 27, 2020

Stephen M. Pumphrey

LCSW 12047

Unprofessional Conduct

Action: License surrender

Effective April 1, 2020

Anissa Rene Rozadilla

ASW 64047

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: ASW 64047

Effective April 1, 2020

Cinamon Linn Sutherland
AKA Cinamon Linn Vernon

AMFT 85979

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: License surrender

Effective May 27, 2020

Marylou Torrez

AMFT Applicant

Fraud

Action: License revoked, revocation stayed, and placed on probation for a period of three years with terms and conditions.

Effective April 1, 2020

Darlene Lluvia Valdez

AMFT 110614

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: Revocation

Effective: April 1, 2020

Keri Marguerite Victorio

AMFT 95312

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: License surrender

Effective May 27, 2020

Zulekha Pearl Williams

APCC 5103

Criminal Charges/Conviction

Action: License surrender

Effective: April 1, 2020

Lonnie Omer Woodley

LEP 2441

Unprofessional Conduct

Action: License surrender

Effective: July 9, 2020

Take the Census Today!
(844) 3330-2010
https://californiacensus.org/

UPCOMING MEETING DATES

Board Meetings

September 11, 2020

October 8, 2020

November 5-6, 2020

Policy and Advocacy Committee

October 9, 2020

California Board of Behavioral Sciences

1625 North Market Blvd., Suite S-200

Sacramento, CA 95834

(916) 574-7830