[5:00pm EST 10/08/15 edit — ACA has deleted its Open Forum post and the news item on their website. Some of the links in this story will not work anymore. Read this story first, then click here for the update.]
The bill is apparently on governor’s desk.
Contacts expressing the damage that this bill will do to professional counseling should be addressed to:
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
116 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC 27603-8001
The ACA is doing damage control about how disappointed they are that the bill lacks adequate grandfathering measures. See below. I guess it’s impossible to control all bills everywhere, but this gets to our earlier points about it being nearly impossible to maintain the equality of current non-CACREP counselors while simultaneously pushing for CACREP-Only in new licensing. We’ve also expressed hope that ACA efforts to protect non-CACREP counselors will be as vigilant and well-funded as planned efforts to get CACREP-Only licensing language passed in all 50 states. Such a large campaign implies funding and coordination – we hope more such legislative slips will be few and far between.
HOWEVER — Our read of the bill (see below) is that it DOES have grandfathering of non-CACREP applicants through 2022. We don’t yet see what is lacking in the grandfathering as desired by ACA and CACREP (other than the whole idea of grandfathering being inadequate). What are we missing here? Not sure if the ACA is worried about adequate grandfathering for LPCs (regular counselors) or LCPS (supervisors).
[5:00pm edit – This link no longer works. Deleted by ACA]
NC BILL SENT TO GOVERNOR:
ACA Affirms Commitment to Nondiscrimination, Expresses Disappointment in the NC Legislature’s Decision to Coopt Counselor Licensing Bill
Oct 07, 2015
Last week, ACA received notification that a bill pertaining to the licensing of counselors in North Carolina, Senate Bill 279, had been scheduled for an immediate vote in the House after passing out of a joint conference committee the day before.
A version of S279, a bill pertaining to “Amending Qualifications/Practice of Counseling,” has been sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed.
ACA is glad to see that CACREP standards have been legislated in the state of NC to be included in the state’s licensure requirements. However, ACA is disappointed in the lack of clear pathway for those LPCS with non-CACREP degrees. ACA is committed to supporting adequate grand-parenting for those with degrees from non-CACREP accredited programs.
While S279 was written to make amendments to the licensure process, the bill was utilized for other political agendas. In mid-September, the House amended the bill to include significant provisions regarding sex education in North Carolina’s schools, an issue that is unrelated to the licensing of counselors. These provisions, if signed into law, will mandate the promotion of abstinence-only education and write into statute sex education curricula, without including the expertise of educators in the field.
The conference committee version of the bill bore fruit to an even more egregious version of the bill. This version included sections regarding local governance that took away the authority for local government to pass laws raising the local minimum wage, ensuring fair housing, and enforcing non-discrimination in employment practices. As counselors, we understand how important it is that we empower local communities to make the decisions that best serve the people who live there. Local government decisions foster innovation and local control exists to reflect the unique values and needs of different communities.
ACA stands firm in our commitment to nondiscrimination. It is against the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics (section C.5.) and antithetical to the nature of the profession, a profession that is committed to improving the lives of all people. ACA actively fought against the inclusion of these provisions and remains disappointed at those in the North Carolina legislature whom utilized this opportunity to advance other agenda items, distracting from the need to promote and improve access to qualified mental health practitioners in the state.