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TITLE 22EXAMINING BOARDS
PART 21TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EXAMINERS OF PSYCHOLOGISTS
CHAPTER 465RULES OF PRACTICE
RULE §465.18Forensic Services

(a) In General.

  (1) A licensee who provides services concerning a matter which the licensee knows or should know will be utilized in a legal proceeding, such as a divorce, child custody determination, fitness for duty evaluation for high risk personnel, disability claim, or risk assessment evaluations of employees, must comply with all applicable Council rules concerning forensic services regardless of whether the licensee is acting as a factual witness or an expert.

  (2) Licensees who engage in forensic services must have demonstrated appropriate knowledge of and competence in all underlying areas of psychology about which they provide such services.

  (3) All forensic opinions, reports, assessments, and recommendations rendered by a licensee must be based on information and techniques sufficient to provide appropriate substantiation for each finding.

  (4) When appointed or designated in writing by a court to provide psychological services, a licensee shall obtain and keep a copy of the court order.

  (5) When providing forensic psychological services to a minor who is the subject of a court order or the ward of guardianship, a licensee shall obtain and keep a copy of the relevant portions of any court order, divorce decree, or letters of guardianship authorizing the individual to provide substitute consent on behalf of the minor or ward.

(b) Limitation on Services.

  (1) A licensee who is asked to provide an opinion concerning an area or matter about which the licensee does not have the appropriate knowledge and competency to render a professional opinion shall decline to render that opinion.

  (2) A licensee who is asked to provide an opinion concerning a specific matter for which the licensee lacks sufficient information to render a professional opinion shall decline to render that opinion unless the required information is provided.

  (3) A licensee shall not render a written or oral opinion about the psychological characteristics of an individual without conducting an examination of the individual unless the opinion contains a statement that the licensee did not conduct an examination of the individual.

  (4) A written or oral opinion about the psychological characteristics of an individual rendered by a licensee who did not conduct an examination of that individual must contain clarification of the extent to which this limits the reliability and validity of the opinion and the conclusions and recommendations of the licensee.

  (5) When seeking or receiving court appointment or designation as an expert for a forensic evaluation a licensee specifically avoids accepting appointment or engagement for both evaluation and therapeutic intervention for the same case. A licensee provides services in one but not both capacities in the same case.

(c) Describing the Nature of Services. A licensee must document in writing that subject(s) of forensic evaluations or their parents or legal representative have been informed of the following:

  (1) The nature of the anticipated services (procedures);

  (2) The specific purpose and scope of the evaluation;

  (3) The identity of the party who requested the psychologist's services;

  (4) The identity of the party who will pay the psychologist's fees and if any portion of the fees is to be paid by the subject, the estimated amount of the fees;

  (5) The type of information sought and the uses for information gathered;

  (6) The people or entities to whom psychological records will be distributed;

  (7) The approximate length of time required to produce any reports or written results;

  (8) Applicable limits on confidentiality and access to psychological records;

  (9) Whether the psychologist has been or may be engaged to provide testimony based on the report or written results of forensic psychological services in a legal proceeding; and

  (10) The licensee's name as it appears in their professional file with the Council prior to initiating services.

(d) Certain Testimony Prohibited.

  (1) A licensee may not offer an expert opinion or recommendation relating to the conservatorship of or possession of or access to a child unless the licensee has conducted a child custody evaluation.

  (2) In a contested suit, a licensee may provide other relevant information and opinions, other than those prohibited by paragraph (1) of this subsection, relating to any party that the licensee has personally evaluated or treated.

  (3) This subsection does not apply to a suit in which the Department of Family and Protective Services is a party.

(e) Child Custody Evaluations.

  (1) The role of the child custody evaluator is one of professional expert. A licensee serving as a child custody evaluator shall not function as an advocate, but must remain impartial and objective. Licensees conducting child custody evaluations, including those licensees appointed by a court, are subject to the Council's jurisdiction and must follow all applicable Council rules.

  (2) The term "supervision" as used in this subsection shall have the meaning assigned by §107.101 of the Family Code. However, the term shall not encompass the restrictions and requirements set forth in §465.2 of this title (relating to Supervision) nor shall a licensee providing supervision under this subsection have supervisory responsibility under that same rule.

  (3) Minimum Qualifications of Child Custody Evaluator.

    (A) A licensee must be qualified to conduct a child custody evaluation pursuant to §107.104 of the Family Code before the licensee may conduct an evaluation. Licensees qualified to conduct evaluations under §107.104(b)(2) must conduct evaluations under supervision in accordance with that section.

    (B) Notwithstanding any other grounds for qualification, the Council has determined that a licensed psychologist is qualified to conduct child custody evaluations if the licensee:

      (i) has obtained a minimum of 8 professional development hours directly related to the performance of child custody evaluations since becoming a licensed psychologist, and is board certified in forensic psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP); or

      (ii) has obtained a minimum of 40 professional development hours directly related to the performance of child custody evaluations since becoming a licensed psychologist, and has conducted at least three child custody evaluations under the supervision of a qualified licensee.

    (C) A licensee who does not meet the minimum qualification requirements set forth in §107.104 of the Family Code, may nevertheless conduct a child custody evaluation if:

      (i) appointed to do so pursuant to §107.106 of the Family Code. A licensee appointed under §107.106 must comply with the provisions of Subchapter D of the Family Code and this rule; or

      (ii) the individual is licensed as a psychologist, and has completed at least ten social studies or other child custody evaluations ordered by a court in suits affecting the parent-child relationship prior to September 1, 2015.

    (D) If requested by a court, a licensee selected to conduct or who is conducting a child custody evaluation must demonstrate appropriate knowledge and competence in child custody evaluation services consistent with professional models, standards, and guidelines.

    (E) In addition to the minimum qualifications set forth by this rule, an individual must complete at least eight hours of family violence dynamics training provided by a family violence service provider to be qualified to conduct child custody evaluations.

  (4) Disclosure of Conflicts and Bias.

    (A) Licensees shall comply with all disclosure requirements set forth in §107.107 of the Family Code.

    (B) Following any disclosure required by §107.107(c), a licensee must resign as child custody evaluator, unless:

      (i) the court finds that no conflict of interest exists and that any previous knowledge of a party or child who is the subject of the suit is not relevant; or

      (ii) the parties and any attorney for a child who is the subject of the suit agree in writing to the licensee's continued appointment as the child custody evaluator.

    (C) Except as authorized by §107.107(f), licensees may not accept appointment as a child custody evaluator if they have worked in a professional capacity with a party, a child who is the subject of the suit, or a member of the party's or child's family. The term "family" as used in this subpart has the meaning assigned by §71.003 of the Family Code.

  (5) Elements of Child Custody Evaluation.

    (A) Licensees shall comply with §§107.108, 107.109, and 107.1101 of the Family Code when conducting child custody evaluations.

    (B) Licensees may conduct psychometric testing as part of a child custody evaluation in accordance with §107.110 of the Family Code.

  (6) Communications and Recordkeeping of Child Custody Evaluator.

    (A) Licensees shall comply with the requirements of §107.112 of the Family Code regarding:

      (i) the disclosure of communications between evaluation participants;

      (ii) the creation and retention of records relevant to the evaluation; and

      (iii) access to evaluation records.

    (B) Licensees conducting child custody evaluations shall maintain the confidentiality of records obtained from the Department of Family and Protective Services pursuant to §107.111 of the Family Code, as well as any records obtained pursuant to §107.1111. Licensees may not disclose any information obtained from the records except as required or allowed by law. Failure to maintain confidentiality as required by law will result in disciplinary action against a licensee.

  (7) Evaluation Report.

    (A) A licensee who conducts a child custody evaluation shall prepare and file a report in accordance with §107.113 of the Family Code.

    (B) A licensee shall provide a copy of any report filed with the Court in accordance with §107.114 of the Family Code.

(f) Adoption Evaluations.

  (1) The role of the adoption evaluator is one of professional expert. A licensee serving as an adoption evaluator shall not function as an advocate, but must remain impartial and objective. Licensees conducting adoption evaluations, including those licensees appointed by a court, are subject to the Council's jurisdiction and must follow all applicable Council rules.

  (2) Minimum Qualifications of Adoption Evaluator.

    (A) A licensee must be qualified to conduct an adoption evaluation pursuant to §107.154 of the Family Code before the licensee may conduct an evaluation.

    (B) Licensees qualified to conduct a child custody evaluations are also qualified to conduct adoption evaluations.

    (C) A licensee who does not meet the minimum qualification requirements set forth in §107.154, may nevertheless conduct an adoption evaluation if:

      (i) appointed to do so pursuant to §107.155 of the Family Code. A licensee appointed under §107.155 must comply with the provisions of Subchapter E of the Texas Family Code and this rule; or

      (ii) the individual is licensed as a psychologist, and has completed at least ten social studies or other child custody evaluations ordered by a court in suits affecting the parent-child relationship prior to September 1, 2015.

  (3) Disclosure of Conflicts and Bias.

    (A) Licensees shall comply with all disclosure requirements set forth in §107.156 of the Family Code.

    (B) Following any disclosure required by §107.156(c), a licensee must resign as adoption evaluator, unless:

      (i) the court finds that no conflict of interest exists and that any previous knowledge of a party or child who is the subject of the suit is not relevant; or

      (ii) the parties and any attorney for a child who is the subject of the suit agree in writing to the licensee's continued appointment as the adoption evaluator.

    (C) Except as authorized by §107.156(e) of the Family Code, licensees may not accept appointment as an adoption evaluator if they have worked in a professional capacity with a party, a child who is the subject of the suit, or a member of the party's or child's family. The term "family" as used in this subpart has the meaning assigned by §71.003 of the Family Code.

  (4) A licensee shall report to the Department of Family and Protective Services any adoptive placement that appears to have been made by someone other than a licensed child-placing agency or a child's parent or managing conservator.

  (5) Licensees shall comply with §§107.158, 107.159, and 107.160 of the Family Code when conducting adoption evaluations.

Cont'd...

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