Board of Behavioral Sciences produces videos to explain exam restructure

The license examination process for the Board of Behavioral Sciences (Board) will be changing effective January 1, 2016. New exams will be implemented for all Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Marriage Family Therapist candidates, and registrants will be mandated to take a California Law and Ethics Exam.

The Board has created instructional videos to show how the exam restructure may impact you, if you are a non-registrant, registrant or subsequent registrant.

Click below to view the videos and visit the examination news section of the Board’s website for more information.




Subsequent Registrant

Winterizing pets can take the chill away


Both indoor pets and outdoor pets can be affected by the chill of winter weather, but there are steps pet owners can take to ensure their pets’ health and well-being.

Avoid Space Heaters

Indoor pet owners need to turn off space heaters or purchase one that shuts off automatically when tipped over. Numerous house fires have started from space heaters knocked over by pets.

The Humane Society recommends that outdoor pets be brought in during inclement weather for their safety and protection. Outdoor pets are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite.

Winter Needs For Outdoor Pets

Pets spending time outdoors during winter need more food and also need to have their outdoor houses insulated against the cold. The opening should face away from the wind and a burlap or plastic flap can be added. Water bowls can freeze, especially overnight, so be sure ice is broken or removed so thirsty pets can have a drink. Plastic or ceramic bowls are recommended because pets’ tongues can stick to frozen metal bowls.

Warming Up Car Engines

Be careful when warming up your car in the mornings. Warm cars attract cats and small wildlife seeking respite from the cold. To avoid drawing any unwelcome guests, bang on your car hood to scare away animals before starting your engine.

Antifreeze Warning

Avoid antifreeze pet poisonings by wiping up any spills and keeping it secure and out of reach. Pets, wildlife and small children are attracted by the sweet taste of antifreeze, but it is deadly when ingested.

Snowy Dangers

Pets’ paws can become frostbitten in below zero temperatures. Remove ice and snow from pets’ paws immediately.  Chemicals and salts used to melt ice on roads and sidewalks can also be toxic to pets. Always rinse dogs’ paws after walks in areas where these substances might be used.

Fur May Not Be Enough

Fur, while it may look warm, may not be enough to keep pets from getting chilly, especially if they have short hair or their fur becomes wet. Cats usually will not tolerate wearing coats or sweaters, but dogs can fare well in winter attire. Doggy boots, jackets and sweaters should fit well, but not be too tight that circulation could be cut off. Puppies and kittens should never be left outdoors. Younger, older and sick pets must be kept indoors.


Symptoms of pet hypothermia include violent shivering, followed by listlessness, weak pulse, lethargy, muscle stiffness, problems breathing, lack of appetite, rectal temperature below 98 degrees, coma and cardiac arrest.

Treatment for hypothermia includes bringing your pet indoors to a warm room, wrapping it in blankets, giving pet four teaspoons of honey or sugar dissolved in warm water to drink or rubbing 1-2 teaspoons of corn syrup on its gums to provide an immediate boost of energy.

Do not use hair dryers, heating pads or electric blankets to warm pets because this could burn your pet or cause surface blood vessels to dilate, compromising circulation to vital organs.

Instead, use hot water bottles wrapped in towels and place against the animals abdomen, armpits and chest. Then, call your veterinarian immediately.

By taking the proper precautions, you can safeguard your pets against inclement weather.

Covered California enrollment open through Jan. 31

covered-california-bus-el-cajonCovered California, the State’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, kicked off the open enrollment period with a statewide bus tour. The tour began in San Diego and ended at the Tower Bridge and the State Capitol in Sacramento stopping in large cities and small towns on its 38-stop, 2,000-mile journey.

Covered California is spotlighting enrollment because an estimated 2.2 million uninsured State residents remain eligible to get help to make their insurance affordable by enrolling in either Covered California or Medi-Cal. An estimated 750,000 uninsured Californians could enroll through Covered California.

This year, Covered California has more than 500 storefront locations Statewide where individuals can get help enrolling—that’s twice the number of locations that were available at the start of last year’s open enrollment. Although the enrollment period ends January 31, 2016, the exchange is encouraging consumers to sign up before December 15 to ensure they have coverage beginning January 1.

Those who need insurance can go to to learn about their options and find locations in their community where they can get free, confidential help enrolling.

Avoid Gift Card Scams This Holiday Season

 Gift Cards

 By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Gift cards are convenient to give at any time of the year, but they are especially popular during the holidays and top many consumers’ Christmas wish lists.

According to, in 2014, gift cards accounted for more than 25 percent of holiday purchases. That number is expected to increase considerably in the coming years.

In addition to their convenience, another reason why people like giving and receiving gift cards is because most gift certificates and gift cards sold by retail stores don’t have expiration dates or a service fee, including a fee for dormancy.

However, thieves like gift cards too. In fact, they have become pretty savvy at finding ways to rip you off before your gift card is even activated.

One of the most common fraudulent practices among criminals is stealing gift cards from an open store rack display, recording the numbers on them and then placing the cards back among the others. Once a consumer buys one of the tampered gift cards, the scammer takes that recorded number to access the dollar amount and can call the number on it or the retailer to see if it’s been activated and then use it to purchase goods for themselves.

So, how can you avoid getting scammed when purchasing gift cards this holiday season?  Here are a few precautions to consider.

  • AVOID BUYING GIFT CARDS OPENLY DISPLAYED IN STORES– These can be easily tampered with. Ask the store manager to sell you gift cards from behind the customer service counter and ones that are pre-packaged.
  •   THOROUGHLY EXAMINE GIFT CARDS FOR SIGNS OF TAMPERING– If the PIN number is faded/scratched or part of the activation sticker is missing or not firmly affixed, don’t buy the card and immediately bring it to the attention of the store manager.
  • BUY DIRECT FROM THE SOURCE—As tempting as it might be to save a few dollars somewhere else, always purchase your gift card directly from the issuing store. This way you can have the cards scanned and activated at checkout and have the salesperson verify your balance prior to leaving the store.
  • TREAT THE GIFT CARD LIKE FAST CASH—Try to spend your card as soon as possible. Although gift cards don’t have expiration dates, it’s best not to leave them sitting around for months and risk losing them and have them get in the hands of someone they weren’t intended for.
  • HOLD ON TO RECEIPTS—Most retailers can track where cards are purchased, activated and used.


Siempre verifique la licencia


Una visita al médico o al dentista puede ser más placentera al saber que está recibiendo la atención de alguien que ha sido educado adecuadamente en su profesión y tiene licencia para ejercer. Sin embargo, una y otra vez leemos titulares de los contratistas, veterinarios o incluso los médicos que prestan servicios sin la licencia adecuada para llevar a cabo ese tipo de servicios.

Recientemente, la División de Investigación del Departamento de Asuntos del Consumidor de California encontró a un hombre del sur de California que supuestamente se hizo pasar por un veterinario y realizó cirugías a un gato. El hombre conocido como “Doctor Héctor” más tarde fue declarado culpable de practicar como veterinario sin licencia. Héctor Menjivar fue sentenciado a 30 días en la cárcel del condado.  Haga clic aquí para leer una historia del caso en ingles.

Para que usted este seguro que esta recibiendo los servicios de un profesional con licencia que ha obtenido la formación y educación adecuada, verificar su licencia aquí. También puede comprobar cualquier acción disciplinaria contra el individuo acreditado. Aquí  puede presentar una queja ante la oficina apropiada.

Beneficios de la verificación de una licencia profesional de una persona o de una corporación:

– Usted puede evitar que las personas sin escrúpulos o incompetentes promueven servicios engañosos o inseguras

– Usted puede presentar una queja con el Departamento de Asuntos del Consumidor de California

– Usted puede estar seguro de que los profesionales realizarán sus funciones a un nivel aceptable

Recuerde siempre revisar  la licencia en el sitio del Departamento de Asuntos del Consumidor de California en


Be Safe, Check the License


A visit to the doctor or dentist can be more relaxing if you know you are receiving care from someone who has been properly educated in their field and is licensed to practice.

However, on TV, online, and in the newspaper we often find stories about people who pose as contractors, veterinarians, doctors, and other professionals who provide services without the proper licenses to conduct that type of business or provide that type of service.

It just happened again.

A recent undercover investigation by the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation found a Southern California man posing as a veterinarian, performing surgeries and other veterinary services on pets. The man, known as “Doctor Hector,” was convicted of practicing veterinary medicine without a license; Hector Menjivar was sentenced to serve 30 days in county jail.

To ensure you are receiving services from a licensed professional who has received the proper training and education, verify the license here. While checking the license, you can also look for any past disciplinary actions against the licensee. You can file a complaint with the appropriate board or bureau here.

It pays to check the license! By doing business with a licensed business or professional, you can:

  • Avoid unscrupulous or unqualified people who promote deceptive or unsafe services
  • File a complaint with Department of Consumer Affairs
  • Rest assured that practitioners will perform their duties to acceptable standards

Remember to always check the license at the Department of Consumer Affairs’ website at

It’s Important To Talk To Your Pharmacist About Your Prescriptions


The California State Board of Pharmacy recognizes and acknowledges the important role prescription and other medicine plays in our overall health.

Over-the-counter drugs, vitamin and herbal remedies, as well as prescription medications are all forms of medicines patients should understand. The Board of Pharmacy promotes the need for patients to educate themselves about prescription medication, dosages, side-effects and reactions from taking and mixing their medicines.

The best way to use medicines safely and appropriately is to be well-informed with good, reliable information and to aggressively ask questions of your pharmacist, especially when a new medicine is prescribed. Many people fail to realize the health care professional with the most accurate and latest information about their medicine is their pharmacist.

The Board of Pharmacy requires pharmacists to provide oral consultation to a patient or a patient’s representative for all newly prescribed medicines as well as whenever a previously prescribed medicine shows a change in dosage, form, strength or has new directions for use.

Before taking your medicine, be sure you know:

  • The name of your medicine and what it does
  • How and when to take it, for how long, and what to do if you miss a dose
  • Possible side effects and what you should do if they occur
  • Whether the new medicine will work safely with other medicines or supplements
  • What foods, drinks or activities should be avoided while taking the medicine?

Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.

The Board of Pharmacy promotes patients working with their pharmacists. One key way is by assuring the pharmacist has a list of all medicines, including over-the-counter, herbal, natural and vitamin supplements a patient takes.

Pharmacists check patients’ complete records and only dispense prescription medications that safely combine with current medicines. If a pharmacist finds your new medicine has potential risks if taken with other items you are taking, they will work with the prescribing physician to dispense the best alternative.

Many people are in a hurry when filling prescriptions. However, when standing at the pharmacy counter, it’s best to take a few minutes to speak with your pharmacist and not opt-out of consultation. Talking with your pharmacist this month, and every month, about prescriptions and other medicines may save your life and the lives of your loved ones as well.

The bottom line for all of us is to ask your pharmacist for advice about your medicines. They are literally the last line of defense and subject matter experts to protect our health. It is also their duty, under California law, to give each patient a complete consultation to assure that new medicines, as well as previous prescriptions with changed instructions, are taken safely.

The California State Board of Pharmacy protects and promotes the health and safety of California consumers by pursuing the highest quality of pharmacist care and the appropriate use of pharmaceuticals through education, communication, licensing, legislation, regulation and enforcement.

Save Our Water, Save Our Trees!

The Department of Water Resources’ Save Our Water program is warning California residents not to neglect trees during this period of historic drought.

While cutting back on water use is critical, trees in irrigated landscapes become dependent on regular watering. When watering is reduced, and especially when it’s stopped completely, trees can die.SaveOurWater

Tree loss can be costly in more ways than one. While tree removal is often expensive, also at risk is an immense range of health, energy, environmental, and economic benefits trees provide:

  • Improve air and water quality.
  • Provide shade to a landscape and reduce water needs.
  • Help keep your home cooler.
  • Slow stormwater runoff and help recharge groundwater.
  • Reduce soil erosion.
  • Add value—sometimes thousands of dollars’ worth—to your home and neighborhood.

Because trees take a long time to grow, helping them out through the drought is critical. Harming or killing trees may eliminate benefits that would take decades to get back.

The Save Our Water program has these recommendations for preserving trees while conserving water:

  • Deeply and slowly water mature trees 1–2 times per month with a simple soaker hose or drop system toward the edge of the tree canopy—NOT at the base of the tree. Use a hose faucet timer (found at hardware stores) to prevent overwatering.
  • Young trees need 5 gallons of water 2–4 times per week. Create a small watering basin with a berm of dirt.
  • Use a bucket in the shower to capture water while it warms up and use that water for your trees.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch! Four to six inches of mulch helps retain moisture, reducing water needs and protecting your trees.

For more information on saving trees while conserving water, including helpful videos, visit

Tips for Keeping Your Car and Family Safe: Winter Driving

Most Californians are fortunate to live in areas where the notion of “winterizing” our vehicles is not necessary, but winter driving season is near so keep reading if you live in or are planning to visit an area where the barometric pressure can take a sharp dive well before the winter solstice.

Winter Driving Image

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) offers the following tips to keep you, your passengers, and your vehicle safe for driving this winter.


Below are procedures you may already follow for proper vehicle maintenance, but driving during inclement conditions such as snow and ice really ups the ante.

  • Start with your owner’s manual

Be sure your vehicle is up-to-date on its recommended maintenance, including changing the engine oil and filter, and adding antifreeze, coolant, brake, automatic transmission, windshield wiper and steering fluids if needed.  Be sure to use the correct engine oil because engine oil thickens below a specific temperature.

  • Carry tire chains

Practice placing the chains on your tires before venturing out.  It’s better to get the hang of it before you need to use them.

  • Check the battery

Corrosion, cracks, and dirt can affect battery cables and hinder performance.

  • Be sure your brake system is in good shape

Have a licensed adjuster check pads and linings. Visit the BAR website at to find a licensed brake station.

  •  Inspect the lights

The inspection should include turn signals, brake, fog, and high beams. Cleaning your car’s lenses can maximize visibility.

  • Check hoses and belts

Look for any cracks, soft spots, or bulges that could be a potential problem and find a qualified technician for any repairs.  Visit the BAR website ( to find a licensed auto repair technician.

  • Test your vehicle’s heater and defrost systems

Make sure they are working properly.

  • Change wiper blades

Unless you recently purchased a pair, it is best to err on the side of caution and purchase new, quality, windshield wiper blades.

  • Inspect tires

Balding or underinflated tires reduce your vehicle’s handling and traction and can be a safety hazard.  Check the air pressure in your tires regularly, including the spare.



Road trips during the winter months, although beautiful, can be dangerous.  Below are additional precautions and items you might consider bringing while traveling in winter.

  • Share your plans

Let family members or friends know your dates of travel and proposed travel route.

  • Carry a road atlas

GPS reception can become compromised in remote areas or during storms.

  •  Bring extra windshield washer fluid

During a snowy or messy day of driving, you may use your windshield wipers and the washer fluid more than usual.

  • Fill’er up!

Your vehicle may become your life source should you become stranded during a winter road trip.  The more fuel you have, the longer the vehicle can idle to heat the interior of the car in an emergency.

  • Pack on the pounds

Keep sand bags or two 20-pound bags of kitty litter in the trunk to help add weight to improve rear wheel traction.  Sand and liter can also be spread on the ground in front of or behind wheels to provide traction if you get stuck in the snow.


Pack a winter safety kit with the following essentials.

  • Jumper cables
  • NOAA Weather radio with re-chargeable battery and crank power option and phone/tablet charger through USB connection and flashlight
  • Extra batteries for smartphone
  • Basic first-aid supplies
  • Bottled water and non-perishable snacks
  • Fleece blankets
  • Extra clothing
  • Road safety flares
  • Windshield ice-scraper and brush
  • Tool kit
  • Cellphone and car charger

The Bureau of Automotive Repair has created a brochure with the above tips and more ( to help you get your vehicle winter road trip ready.