(a) In this section:
(1) “Full-time experience” means a period during which an individual works at least 30 hours per week.
(2) “Human services field of study” means a field of study designed to prepare an individual in the disciplined application of counseling, family therapy, psychology, or social work values, principles, and methods.
(b) The minimum qualifications prescribed by this section do not apply to an individual conducting a social study:
(1) in connection with a suit pending before a court located in a county with a population of less than 500,000;
(2) in connection with an adoption governed by rules adopted under Section 107.0519(a);
(3) as an employee or other authorized representative of a licensed child-placing agency; or
(4) as an employee or other authorized representative of the Department of Family and Protective Services.
(c) The executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission shall adopt rules prescribing the minimum qualifications that an individual described by Subsection (b)(3) or (4) must possess in order to conduct a social study under this subchapter.
(d) To be qualified to conduct a social study under this subchapter, an individual must:
(1) have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a human services field of study and a license to practice in this state as a social worker, professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, or psychologist and:
(A) have two years of full-time experience or equivalent part-time experience under professional supervision during which the individual performed functions involving the evaluation of physical, intellectual, social, and psychological functioning and needs and the potential of the social and physical environment, both present and prospective, to meet those needs; and
(B) have participated in the performance of at least 10 court-ordered social studies under the supervision of an individual qualified under this section;
(2) meet the requirements of Subdivision (1)(A) and be practicing under the direct supervision of an individual qualified under this section in order to complete at least 10 court-ordered social studies under supervision; or
(3) be employed by a domestic relations office, provided that the individual conducts social studies relating only to families ordered by a court to participate in social studies conducted by the office.
(e) If an individual meeting the requirements of this section is not available in the county served by the court, the court may authorize an individual determined by the court to be otherwise qualified to conduct the social study.
(f) In addition to the qualifications prescribed by this section, an individual must complete at least eight hours of family violence dynamics training provided by a family violence service provider to be qualified to conduct a social study under this subchapter.
(g) The minimum qualifications prescribed by this section do not apply to an individual who, before September 1, 2007:
(1) lived in a county that has a population of 500,000 or more and is adjacent to two or more counties each of which has a population of 50,000 or more;
(2) received a four-year degree from an accredited institution of higher education;
(3) worked as a child protective services investigator for the Department of Family and Protective Services for at least four years;
(4) worked as a community supervision and corrections department officer; and
(5) conducted at least 100 social studies in the previous five years.
(h) A person described by Subsection (g) who performs a social study must:
(1) complete at least eight hours of family violence dynamics training provided by a family violence service provider; and
(2) participate annually in at least 15 hours of continuing education for child custody evaluators that meets the Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluation adopted by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts as those standards existed May 1, 2009, or a later version of those standards if adopted by rule of the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission.
(i) Subsections (g) and (h) and this subsection expire September 1, 2017.
For expiration of Subsections (g), (h), and (i), see Subsection (i).