Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Governor Signs Joyce Legislation Licensing Behavior Analysts; Protecting Patients
The bill provides new protections for treatment of children with autism and other disabilities.

Governor Deval Patrick has signed legislation sponsored by Senator Brian A. Joyce that will require licensure for behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts.

The new license requirement will increase the likelihood that the patients behavior analysts typically serve, mainly children living with disabilities, will receive qualified and effective treatment.

“Behavior analysts play an important role fostering and encouraging the development of children with autism and others disabilities,” said Joyce. “By implementing licensure, we can be assured that our children will receive qualified care and that behavior analysts will be able to market themselves more effectively as the trained professionals they are.”

Under the new law, behavior analysts and their assistants will now be granted licenses by the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals.

To receive a license, an applicant will need a doctoral degree with 60 credit hours or a master’s degree with 30 credit hours and five years of work dedicated to the practice. The board now has 18 months to promulgate licensure rules with license issuance beginning four months after that.

Senator Joyce’s continued efforts to provide every protection possible for the disabled children and adults at the Judge Rotenberg Center was one of the driving factors for this legislation.

The new license requirement will help to further protect children with disabilities both at the JRC and across the Commonwealth, and is part of Joyce’s efforts to ban the practice of intentionally inflicting pain on disabled children that is still happening at the JRC.

Senator Joyce introduced the bill in July of last year, and Massachusetts will be the 10th state to adopt licensure requirement for these professionals.