SUMMARY OF: A Sunset Review on the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Board of Marital and Family Therapy, June 19, 2013

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with Title 24 and Title 44 of the Alaska Statutes (sunset legislation), we have reviewed the activities of the Board of Marital and Family Therapy (board or BMFT). The purpose of this audit was to determine if there is a demonstrated public need for the board’s continued existence and if it has been operating in an effective manner. As required by AS 44.66.050(a), this report shall be considered by the committee of reference during the legislative oversight process in determining whether BMFT should be reestablished. Currently, under AS 08.03.010(c)(11), the board will terminate on June 30, 2014, and will have one year from that date to conclude its administrative operations.

Report Conclusions

We conclude that BMFT’s termination date should be extended. Regulating and licensing marital and family therapists benefits the public’s safety and welfare. The board provides reasonable assurance that individuals licensed as marital and family therapists are qualified.

We recommend that the board’s termination date be extended four years to June 30, 2018, which is half of the eight-year maximum extension provided in Alaska Statutes. The reduced extension recommendation is mainly due to the board not fully addressing the prior sunset audit recommendation to pursue regulation changes that are necessary to protect the public’s interest. Although the board has initiated one regulatory revision, it has not addressed the need for distance therapy and distance supervision.

Findings and Recommendations

  1. BMFT should develop a strategy to address the need for distance therapy and distance supervision.
  2. The Office of the Governor and BMFT should work together to fill vacant board seats in a timely manner.