What does a Sex Offender Treatment Provider Do?
Considering that the vast majority of convicted adult sex offenders will return to society at some point, finding effective strategies to rehabilitate, manage, and oversee them is critical. One strategy is to offer sex offenders treatment through licensed providers. The fundamental purpose of sex offender treatment is to lower the likelihood of recidivism among offenders.
Cognitive-behavioral approaches, classical behavioral monitoring, insight-oriented, hormonal medications, medical treatment, therapeutic groups, faith-based treatment, and strict monitoring are some of the strategies used in sex offender treatment programs.
Therapy sessions and other intervention measures are led by professionals skilled in sex offender-specific treatments. Professionals with a specific level of education, such as qualified nurses, licensed social workers, and parole/probation officers, are examples of those that provide sex offenders with treatment. In addition to their regular licensing for their profession, most programs require that individuals obtain a sex offender treatment provider license.
What Are the License Requirements for a Sex Offender Treatment Provider?
The Council on Sex Offender Treatment, which is affiliated with HHSC, establishes practice standards for sex offender treatment providers in Texas. Those interested in obtaining a license must first become an Affiliate Sex Offender Therapy Provider ASOTP) before becoming a Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider (LSOTP) in order to give treatment to sex offenders. Those in the process of obtaining a license will be able to work under the supervision of an LSOTP with a supervisory rank.
There are eligibility requirements under the Texas Administrative Code Title 22 (22 TAC) 810.3(c) for ASOTP and LSOTP licensing. Under Texas law, individuals cannot provide treatment to sex offenders unless they obtain proper licensing by the state. In order to become a licensed Sec Offender Treatment Provider, a person must meet the following criteria:
- Have a medical license or mental health license—the status of this license must be currently active and in good standing
- Gain a minimum of 1000 hours of “documented and verified” clinical hours. These must be obtained under the supervision of an approved supervisor.
- Complete 40 hours of continuing education training, with specific requirements to the subjects and timeline
- Submit all necessary paperwork related to the type of treatment program that the applicant intends to provide
- Adhere to all ethical standards
- Pay the filing fee
There are additional criteria outlined under the Texas Code that can be reviewed before submitting an application. Once a license is obtained, the Texas Civil Commitment Office is in charge of administering and implementing Texas’ civil commitment program, which provides court-ordered treatment and monitoring to people who have been civilly committed under the Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 841 procedures.
Types of Complaints Against a Sex Offender Treatment Provider
The common reasons why a complaint may be brought against your Sex Offender Treatment Provider license include:
- Breaches of confidentiality
- Inappropriate relationships and boundaries with clients, including dual relationships
- False, misleading, or deceptive advertising of services
- Failure to maintain accurate records or other paperwork
- Insurance and Medicaid fraud
- Failure to report information on abuse of minor clients
- Criminal activity
- Unprofessional conduct
During an investigation, you will have the opportunity to respond and dispute the allegations brought against you. Your statement and any evidence you provide can greatly impact the outcome of the investigation. Once the investigation is complete, the complaint may be dismissed depending on the finding. If the complaint is found to be illegitimate, the complainant will be notified, and the complaint will be dismissed.
If the case moves through the investigatory process, you will have the opportunity for an informal conference or a remedial plan, or the case may be heard at an administrative hearing. Final decisions by the Board can be appealed at the Travis County district court level.
When Allegations Are Upheld
If the allegations brought against your Sex Offender Treatment Provider license are upheld, you could face career-altering consequences, including license suspension or revocation. Moreover, HHSC will publish disciplinary actions online for up to seven years after the disciplinary process has been completed. A record of any disciplinary actions held against your Sex Offender Treatment Provider license can have a negative impact on your career and reputation.
The Sex Offender Treatment Provider License Complaint Process
Complaints must be sent to the Council using an approved complaint form. This can be done electrical or via the mail if requested. The complaint must make a valid allegation for the committee to approve the complaint. If the complaint fails to state information or respond to questioning, then the agency will likely dismiss the complaint.
Once a complaint is submitted, the Council reviewing will mark the complaints at various priority levels. Cases involving fear of imminent harm and placed at the top of the priority list. Once the complaints pass through an initial intake process, then they will be forwarded to the Enforcement Division for review. The Enforcement Division reviews the complaints to determine if the allegation is a violation of state or federal law if the respondent holds a proper license and if it is within the proper jurisdiction.
Once a complaint is determined to be within the Council’s jurisdiction, the license holder (sex offender treatment provider at issue) is notified in writing that the complaint has been opened against them, and an investigator conducts an inquiry in accordance with the complaint’s requirements. The respondent is also given written notice of the alleged violation(s), as well as a copy of the original complaint and supporting documents, with a deadline of 30 days to respond.
Resolving a Sex Offender Treatment Provider Complaint
After an investigation is complete, the complaint will move to a final resolution in one of two ways. Whether or not probable cause is discovered following the Council’s investigation determines which direction the complaint will take.
Probable cause indicates that the facts and circumstances are known to the agency, and about which it has reasonably reliable information are sufficient to lead a reasonable person to believe that the responder violated the Council’s rules or another legislation within the agency’s authority.
If Probable Cause Is Not Established
If probable clause is not found, then the complaint is handed off to legal counsel. If the legal counsel also finds that no probable cause exists for the allegations, then the case is sent to the Executive Director to be dismissed. Once the case is dismissed, the person who filed the complaint and the license holder are both informed of that decision.
If Probable Cause Is Established
If probable cause for the claimed violation(s) is established, the complaint is sent to agency officials for an informal conversation or to a Disciplinary Review Panel. In order to resolve a complaint by agreement, agency employees may send the responder a proposed agreed order prior to holding an informal conference. If the respondent refuses to accept a settlement order or asks for a conference, the complaint will be scheduled for one.
At the conference and also through written response, the respondent has the chance to plead their case and show that the allegations do not hold merit and they should be able to keep their license. Having an attorney to help with this process is very beneficial.