2024 Changes for the LMFT & LCSW Law and Ethics Exam

By Maria Denardo on December 18, 2023

Exam changes are underway. Every five years the BBS conducts an occupational analysis for each profession to ensure that exam content is up-to-date and accurately reflects clinical competency. As a result, the California LMFT and LCSW law and ethics exams will be updated beginning January 1, 2024. Our team compared current and former exam outlines, and upon completing our review, we believe these updates will not have a significant impact on your exam questions.

2024 Changes for the LMFT & LCSW Law and Ethics Exam

What are the 2024 law and ethics exam changes?

The most notable exam changes centered around content breakdown and elder and dependent mandated reporting, which we’ll review below. But even these modifications were fairly small. Other updates involved building out certain categories, like telehealth, while decreasing focus on others, like evaluations and research. Luckily, most of the administrative revisions won’t drastically change the TDC study material or greatly affect your exam prep!

Let’s review the content breakdown. In previous exam cycles, the legal portion of the test made up 40% of the content, while ethics took up the remaining 60%. This ratio was slightly altered to 44% and 56%, respectively. This change will be barely noticeable on your end. Similarly, the testing categories shifted a percentage point here and there, but again, the updates are minuscule, as you can see below:

Confidentiality, privilege, and consent: Changed from 14% to 16%
Limits to confidentiality/mandated reporting: 16%
Legal standards for professional practice: Changed from 10% to 12%
Professional competence and integrity: Changed from 16% to 18%
Responsibility to clients and counseling relationships: Changed from 24% to 27%
Practice policies and professional responsibilities: Changed from 15% to 16%

Now, let’s talk about elder and dependent abuse reporting. Most of the content on this topic will stay the same; only one aspect will be altered noticeably for testers due to a new California law under Assembly Bill No. 1417 (“AB 1417”). Essentially, AB 1417 changes the timeframe for reporting known, suspected, or alleged elder or dependent abuse in long-term care facilities and modifies the reporting requirements when the suspected perpetrator is a long-term care resident with an official diagnosis of dementia. The new reporting guidelines are as follows:

If abuse occurred in a long-term care facility, the requirements will vary based on type of abuse and who perpetrated the abuse:

1. Physical abuse that resulted in non-serious bodily injury by the perpetrator who is another resident of the facility with the dementia diagnosis from a licensed physician is reported to both the local law enforcement agency and the long-term care ombudsman in writing within 24 hours. A verbal report is not required. 
2. Physical abuse that resulted in serious bodily injury must be verbally reported as soon as possible with no more than 2 hours passing from observing, obtaining knowledge, or suspecting abuse or neglect. A written report must be submitted within 24 hours to local law enforcement, long-term care ombudsman, and the corresponding state licensing agencies.

How does this impact my study prep with TDC?

As always, the TDC team updates the study material in real-time when legal and ethical changes come down the pipeline. We are revising the elder and dependent reporting guidelines in your CA LCSW and LMFT law and ethics courses and will document this change in the “Announcements” section on your course homepage. The updates will also automatically be added to your account. Rest assured, whether you take the test this month or in 2024, TDC gives you everything you need to be well prepared to pass your exam with confidence.

If you’re a TDC customer and have exam questions related to these updates or other aspects of the test, you can email your personal exam coach anytime. We love receiving your questions, and we’re always here to help support you!

CE Courses

Looking for CE credits? Our continuing education library features a range of courses that fulfill BBS requirements, including our brand new Telehealth course, which fulfills the 3-hour law and ethics requirement, as well as the new telehealth course requirement. Here is a discount code that will allow you to save on the course: TELEHEALTH10


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