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The Legal Department articles are not intended to serve as legal advice and are offered for educational purposes only. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for independent legal advice and it is not intended to address every situation that could potentially arise. Please be aware that laws, regulations and technical standards change over time. As a result, it is important to verify and update any reference or information that is provided in the article.
CAMFT membership surveys consistently reflect the availability of CAMFT legal staff for telephone consultation regarding legal, ethical, and licensure concerns as one of the most highly valued benefits of CAMFT membership.
Michael Griffin, JD, LCSW,
Legal & Ethical Consultation: A Valuable Benefit of Membership
CAMFT membership surveys consistently reflect the availability of CAMFT legal staff for telephone consultation regarding legal, ethical, and licensure concerns as one of the most highly valued benefits of CAMFT membership. In 2011, CAMFT staff attorneys fielded a total of 23,923 separate requests for telephone consultation from members. As of August 2012, the attorneys have fielded 17,300 separate requests for telephone consultations. As such, CAMFT is aiming to make this experience as seamless and beneficial to the member as possible.
The Consultation Process
CAMFT members may request consultation with one of the staff attorneys by phoning CAMFT, between the hours of 8:45 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. As with any business, it is recommended that members try to avoid calling during certain high-call volume periods, such as 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm (daily), Friday afternoons, and Monday mornings.
When a member contacts CAMFT to request consultation, the CAMFT Information Center ("Info Center") will briefly inquire about the nature of the member's call. This allows the Info Center to note the call in the member's record, and to determine whether it may be possible to provide an immediate answer to the member's question. If the question cannot be answered by the Info Center, the call will be forwarded to the next available attorney. Once he or she is connected with one of the staff attorneys, the member will have an opportunity to describe the nature of his or her question or concern and the staff attorney will identify any relevant information or resource which the attorney believes may be of assistance to the member. This may include information from a variety of sources, such as an article in The Therapist or other publication, information on the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) website, a legal decision, or a section of one or more statutes, regulations, or ethical codes which appear to be relevant to the matter.
Key Caveats and Recommendations for a Productive Legal/Ethical Consultation
During the course of thousands of conversations with members of CAMFT, the legal staff has learned a great deal about what it takes to provide productive consultations to members. The following information describes a number of key recommendations to members of CAMFT regarding the use of legal/ethical consultation.
Although the foregoing information may seem like a lot to remember, keep in mind that the recommendations are easy to follow once you are familiar with them. The intent is to ensure that every question will be answered in an efficient and effective manner. Of course, in the event that any of this information raises a question or concern, feel free to contact CAMFT and ask to speak with one of the staff attorneys. They'll be happy to assist you.
Michael Griffin, JD, LCSW, is a Staff Attorney at CAMFT. Michael is available to answer member calls regarding legal, ethical, and licensure issues.