Background Check Bill for Behavior Analysts Advances

May 13, 2024

Autism New Jersey testifies in support

A message from Autism New Jersey’s Public Policy Department

Today, the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee unanimously released a bill requiring criminal background checks for behavior analyst licensure applicants. This bill (A1128) now goes to the full Assembly. Concurrently, we are advocating for its Senate counterpart (S2311) to be heard in an upcoming Senate Commerce Committee meeting in an effort to see this requirement become law prior to the Division of Consumer Affairs opening the application process.

Thank you to the sponsors, Senator Singleton and Assembly members DiMaio, Matsikoudis, and Dunn, for sponsoring this important legislation in the Senate and General Assembly, respectively. Thank you to Chairman Stanley for posting the bill for consideration today in committee. Autism New Jersey also appreciates the support of the New Jersey Association for Behavior Analysis and the autism community in calling attention to the bill.

The Problem

As previously noted, Autism New Jersey successfully advocated for the professional licensing of the practice of ABA and has been monitoring the implementation of the Applied Behavior Analyst Licensing Act (summarized here). As soon as we became aware that neither the ABA Licensing Act nor the Uniform Enforcement Act (N.J.S.A. 45:1-1 et seq.) included a criminal background check requirement for ABA license applicants, we began advocating for this consumer protection measure. The absence of a criminal background check requirement to obtain a professional license to practice behavior analysis is a serious oversight that must be corrected, as it could jeopardize the safety and well-being of individuals with autism and their families.

The Solution

In the latter months of 2023, Autism New Jersey advised that we would be advocating for a statutory fix to require criminal background checks for licensed behavior analysts. We engaged the Office of the Attorney General and the Legislature to successfully advocate for the introduction of a bill to implement this statutory fix in the most expeditious manner. Upon taking effect, Assembly Bill 1128 and Senate Bill 2311 will amend the Uniform Enforcement Act to include the State Board of Applied Behavior Analyst Examiners and therefore require behavior analysts to undergo a criminal background check prior to the issuance of a license.

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