Dear SOMB Approved Providers:
The Division of Criminal Justice, Office of Domestic Violence and Sex Offender Management (ODVSOM) has been monitoring the COVID-19 virus and assessing the situation along with its impact over the last year. The ODVSOM has reviewed literature and gathered data from stakeholders about the continued use of Teletherapy or E-Therapy in the era following the COVID-19 era. There are numerous practical, clinical, and safety-related considerations regarding Teletherapy or E-Therapy with individuals who have committed a sex offense.
On March 10th, 2021, the Application Review Committee of the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) approved an indefinite extension of the Teletherapy or E-Therapy Variance approvals until the SOMB adopts Standards and Guidelines regarding its use. This means that Approved Providers who were approved to use Teletherapy or E-Therapy Variance may continue doing so until further notice by the SOMB.
Approved Providers are required to sign the following agreement (click here) in order for their Teletherapy or E-therapy variance to be extended indefinitely. Approved Providers who do not sign this agreement will not be allowed to provide Teletherapy or E-therapy under the SOMB Standards after April 1st, 2021. Additionally, Approved Providers must have signed agreements by any client receiving Teletherapy or E-therapy. Approved Providers may use this form (click here) or may include these provisions as part of existing disclosure forms.
Please note the indefinite extension is not a general endorsement for the use of Teletherapy or E-Therapy with offenders who commit sexual offenses. While vaccination rates offer optimism, the SOMB understands it may not be possible for all providers or clients to transition back to face-to-face services. The SOMB will consider the proposed revisions to the Standards and Guidelines regarding the use of Teletherapy or E-therapy in the future. All stakeholders will be provided notice of these drafted Standards and Guidelines with the opportunity to provide comment and feedback.