Is face-to-face supervision still required on a weekly basis?

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UPDATED May 6, 2020

The California DCA has issued a waiver allowing BBS registrants (MFT Trainees, AMFTs, APCC and ASWs) in all work settings to receive two-way, real-time video supervision as of May 6, 2020.  The relevant sections of the waiver are pasted below. Prior to this waiver face-to-face supervision was required in any setting other than a governmental entity, school, college, university, or an institution that is nonprofit and charitable.

Accordingly, the Director waives Business and Professions Code section 4980.36, subdivisions (d)(1)(B)(ii) and (d)(1)(B)(vi)(II) and section 4999.33, subdivision (c)(3)(K) to the extent they require student trainees to provide “face-to-face” mental health services in order to complete their required training.

Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order, the Director waives the work setting limitation in Business and Professions Code sections 4980.43.2, subdivision (d), 4996.23.1, subdivision (f), and 4999.46.2, subdivision (d), so that all associates may be supervised via two-way, real-time videoconferencing, irrespective of their work setting.

This order is effective immediately but may be amended as circumstances require. This order terminates 60 days from the date of the order, unless further extended. Dated: April May 6, 2020

DCA Waiver DCA-20-12 Training and Supervision Requirements for Marriage Family Therapists, Professional Clinical Counselors, and Clinical Social Workers


Original Post

The BBS has not released a waiver related to the requirement of face-to-face supervision.  However, CAMFT has posted a thorough listing of FAQs that includes this question and answer about supervision:

Q: What about Pre-licensees, Telehealth, and Videoconferencing Supervision during this time?

A: Trainees, Registered Associates and supervisors should follow California law as outlined in the BBS’s Statement on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Telehealth. Although these laws are written into statute, the BBS has highlighted that the Governor issued an Executive Order recommending social distancing and isolation if sick. If a Pre-licensee is in a situation where it is unsafe to obtain the required face-to-face supervision, or is compelled to provide services via Telehealth in a non-typical setting, they should act in the spirit of the law and fully document their decision-making to continue outside the letter of the law.

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