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ACA will be providing student members enrolled in a masterís degree program with professional liability ("malpractice") insurance as part of their membership. Recognizing that all CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) and many non-CACREP programs require students to have professional liability insurance, ACA has successfully negotiated with the ACA-endorsed carrier-Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO)-to provide eligible ACA student members with coverage for practicum and internships as a value-added benefit of membership. An announcement was sent to all ACA student members Tuesday.
How much has the current economic crisis affected counseling services and counseling professionals? The news of the New Year is fraught with words like cutbacks, layoffs, furloughs, moratoriums, and other terms by reporters and others commenting on how the economic crisis is playing out in the real lives of people. ACAeNews offers the following stories that have already been reported this winter.
The Los Angeles Times reports that California schools are continuing to deal with the crisis by cutting positions. The Folsom Cordova Unified School District, for example, cut 57 positions from the current budget, including four high school and middle school counselors. The district's elementary school libraries have been closed and class size has been increased.
WTOP Radio in the Washington, DC metropolitan area reported that both state services and the university system in Maryland would employ a furlough approach to reduce spending. A proposal devised by the University System in Maryland calls for employees to take up to five unpaid days depending on their salary, with individuals earning less than $29,000 not being penalized.
Even some smaller states and institutions have had to take drastic measures. When word of state financial support reductions hit Winthrop University in South Carolina, the 6,000 student public-institution announced that staff members would be furloughed nine days without pay, instead of the six days previously announced. Dana College, a private liberal-arts institution of 550 students in Nebraska has placed a moratorium on institution contributions to faculty and staff retirement programs. This, after several years of budget pressures that resulted in elimination of academic programs and faculty layoffs.
Not all the stories, however, are doom and gloom. A study of college chief business officers conducted in December by The Chronicle of Higher Education and Moody's Investors Service found most colleges see layoffs, cutting staff benefits and across-the-board hiring freezes as a last resort. According to the Chronicle, "slightly more than one in 10 colleges had laid off employees, and another 26 percent were considering doing so."
Counseling Today is working on an article about how the economic climate is affecting counselors and their clients. In particular, CT wants to know how ACA members are helping their clients deal with stresses and hardships related to the economy, and what (if any) creative steps counselors are having to take to help ensure their own economic well-being. Email your thoughts by Jan. 20 on what role counselors can play in these economic times to Editor Jonathan Rollins at email@example.com.
A special report highlighting the accomplishments of 2008 and a preview of new member benefits and services was sent to all ACA members last week. ACAeNews will cover the new programs and services as they are announced but members are encouraged to review the section now for important news on liability insurance, free CEs, and other offerings.
Both counseling practitioners and counselor educators will be pleased to note that an extremely popular ACA textbook has been revised and released.
Career Counseling: Contexts, Processes, and Techniques, Third Edition
This book presents a practice-focused approach to career counseling that will help readers enhance the skills and techniques in their career counseling repertoire. It incorporates the most widely used traditional career counseling practices with new and emerging career development concepts, making it an exceptional text for both counselors-in-training and seasoned practitioners.
Topics discussed include traditional and postmodern career theories and approaches; counseling an increasingly diverse workforce and addressing cultural context issues such as race, class, gender, and†disability; forming a productive alliance with the client; gathering client information; using assessment inventories and instruments; developing client action plans; and navigating the termination process.†
2009 | 325 pages
New numbers just released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicate that in 2007, 10.9 percent of American adults age 18 or older (an estimated 24.3 million persons) had experienced serious psychological distress (SPD) in the past year. The report further states that two-fifths of these (44.6 percent) individuals received mental health services (inpatient, outpatient, prescription medication or a combination of the three). In some subgroups, the SPD experience rate was dramatically higher.
This will not be a surprise to counselors working with out-of-work individuals or those facing reductions-in-force or dismissals: economists and labor experts are predicting an unemployment rate of at least 8.5 percent and as high as 10 percent during 2009. That's the bad news.
The good news is that Manpower's Employment Outlook survey shows employers in eight of 13 industry sectors reporting they plan to increase staffing levels during the first quarter of 2009 while 67 percent expect to hold steady.
David Kaplan, ACA Chief Professional Officer, is among the authorities cited in a recent Chattanooga Times Free Press story about the use of reparative therapy as a strategy in encouraging gay and lesbian individuals to abandon their sexual orientation. Kaplan is cited along with representatives of the American Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers in the story.
The 111th Congress has convened and is already hard at work developing an economic stimulus package, but existing federal programs are operating as usual. One program of importance to school counselors, the Safe Schools/Healthy Students program, recently issued grant applications for the current fiscal year. The Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative provides competitive grants to school districts to collaborate with local mental health and law enforcement agencies to develop the best methods for preventing school violence.
In recognition of the fact that youth violence is caused by a variety of factors, the program is funded and administered jointly through the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Center for Mental Health Services.
Diane E. Beals and Patton O. Tabors, researchers in the Home-School Study, have found evidence that the family-eating-together experience has a positive effect on children's communication and academic skills. Just what happens during dining and the findings of others doing similar research is the subject of an article by Lisa Rosenthal and posted on the GreatSchools website.
As a part of our effort to promote public awareness of client issues, ACAeNews will present a list each quarter of relevant national observances and their sponsors. Contact the sponsors for information and resources.
National Brain Injury Awareness Month
National Nutrition Month
And don't forget ACA's salute to counselors and counseling. Celebrate Counseling Awareness Month throughout April. Members can access the free Counseling Awareness Month Celebration Guide to aid them in structuring programs and events that improve public and client awareness of counseling and counselors.
ACA and AMCD member graduate students (master's and doctoral level) in counselor education and counseling psychology programs who are committed to Black education and development are eligible for the first annual Asa Hilliard III scholarship award. The award was named for the late educator, historian, psychologist, and social advocate. Applicants must demonstrate their commitment via an application essay, community experiences, and current scholarship.
Scholarship recipients will receive a non-renewable $350 award. The application deadline is January 31, 2009. Visit http://www.amcdaca.org or contact Cirecie A. West-Olatunji at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-392-0731, x 359.
The Open Meadows Foundation, operating with a general fund and six specifically focused program areas, supports projects nationwide that are led by and will benefit women and girls, particularly those in vulnerable communities. Grants of as much as $2,000 can be acquired for project start-up costs or to support ongoing initiatives. The first 2009 deadline for applications: February 15, 2009.
Score Choice, a policy announced last summer by College Board, was supposed to allow students to determine which test scores would go to the institutions where they were applying for admission. The message to students, according to Inside Higher Education, is not exactly in line with the options the testing magnate is offering to colleges. The controversy has added fuel to the ongoing debate regarding disadvantaged students not being able to afford test prep services or pay for multiple test administrations.
Note:† Remember to vote in the 2009 ACA Elections by January 31, 2009. Ballots were mailed to all members at the end of November. Candidate profiles appeared in the December issue of Counseling Today and are available here.
January 29-31, 2009
February 1-3, 2009
February 13-15, 2009
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