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New legislation signed in late June by Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle mandates that all health insurance companies operating in the state provide reimbursement to Licensed Mental Health Counselors. The Hawaii Counseling Association, an ACA state branch, has worked tirelessly since the 1990s to achieve this professional credentialing milestone and response to member needs. Congratulations to all counselors in Hawaii and to ACA member Sandra Joy Eastlack who spearheaded this effort.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has announced the new Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP) grant recipients for the 2008-2009 school year. The coming academic year will see 53 new grants in 52 school districts in 26 states. Funding will be continued in 35 school districts awarded grants in 2007 and 51 school districts awarded grants in 2006.
The ESSCP is the only federal program that helps school districts hire more school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, and appropriately trained psychologists or psychiatrists. Although the program is small, it plays a critical and fundamental role in expanding students' access to necessary counseling services. For a complete list of the awardees, go to: http://www.ed.gov/programs/elseccounseling/fy2008awards.html.
For questions concerning the ESSCP, contact Loretta McDaniel at the U.S. Department of Education at (202) 260-2661. Also, visit: http://www.ed.gov/programs.elseccounseling/index.html
A recent New York Times story points to the fact that women are feeling the same effects as their male counterparts when it comes to the hard times and stresses brought on by the current economy. Citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data contained in a Joint Economic Committee of Congress report issued on July 22nd, the article identifies the economy as the culprit for quelling gains made over the past several decades in the workplace. According to the report, today's women face the same workplace troubles (e.g., downturns, layoffs, stagnant wages, pay cuts) as their male coworkers.
The annual report of the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics contains basic information about the status of the nation's children and youth that will be of interest to counselors in various settings. Using information collected from 22 federal agencies, the report provides an accessible compendium of easy-to-understand indicators drawn from statistics across topics and organized into seven sections.
The teen birth rate in the United States rose in 2006 for the first time since 1991, and unmarried childbearing also rose significantly, according to preliminary birth statistics released recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A new report from the National Center for Educational Statistics has found that postsecondary education goals have increased significantly for current high school seniors and that students are engaging in more rigorous academic studies in order to achieve their ambitions. Trends Among High School Seniors, 1972 - 2004 presents a comprehensive demographic profile of seniors over time and examines differences by sex, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
Every edition of ACA's flagship professional journal, the Journal of Counseling & Development, provides an opportunity for counselors to earn continuing education credit. For example, readers of "New Roles and Advocacy Strategies for School Counselors" by Fred Bemak and Rita Chi-Ying Chung in the current JCD can earn 1 CE contact hour for reading the article and successfully passing a 3-question exam. The exam is printed in the journal and can be mailed in, but readers are encouraged to take the test online and immediately download their CE certificate. See page 382 of the Summer 2008, Volume 86 edition. Questions? contact Debbie Beales at 800-347-6647, Ext. 306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students burn the "midnight oil" preparing for exams. Workers take on an extra job to help pay the bills. Productivity demands require an individual to work longer hours to complete assigned tasks. What do all of these behaviors have in common? They could be affecting sleep habits and generating life and death health and mental health issues that need attention. Recognizing the negative effects of sleep deprivation across the life span, the National Institutes of Health has placed information and resources on its web site for care providers to use with various age groups.
Built upon the "pay it forward" philosophy that one good favor will result in others, the Pay It Forward Foundation's Mini-Grants ($500) are designed to fund one-time-only service-oriented projects identified by youth as activities they would like to perform to benefit their school, neighborhood or greater community. Applications accepted beginning September 15, 2008
Projects by non-profit school and parent groups that advance educational and community efforts are the target of the Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant Program. Awards up to $5,000 can be acquired by eligible groups. Deadline: October 17, 2008.
The ACA Blue Ribbon Panel completed their work recently, selecting 380 Education Sessions and 36 pre-Conference Learning Institutes from the record number of more than 1,400 submissions received this year. Notifications will be e-mailed to submitters August 15.
The Summer Rate is in effect through August 30, so register now and save!
ACA's Awards Committee announced the start of the nominations process for the 2009 ACA National Awards, which will be presented at the ACA 2009 Conference & Exposition in Charlotte.
ACA members can nominate one or more ACA members who have made noteworthy contributions to the counseling profession at the local or state levels. ACA Divisions/Organizational Affiliates, Branches, Chapters, Regions or Committees also can submit nominations. All nominations must be postmarked by October 31, 2008.
Complete information is available on the ACA website at www.counseling.org/resources or you may request a 2009 National Awards Packet by calling ACA Member Services at 800-347-6647, x222. Nominations may be submitted by mail to ACA 2009 National Awards, c/o Holly Clubb, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304-3300.
Call it the USA Today or the CNN influence, but media messages today have been pared to the basics and counselors who are called upon by reporters for comment on mental health, education or social issues need to learn to put their thoughts into smaller "sound bites." Whether responding to a question for information to be used in a newspaper story or a video/audio insert in a broadcast piece, be sensitive to the creation of complete, responsive and succinct passages. You never know what will be edited out of your larger message.
Tips on interacting with print and broadcast journalists can be found in the ACA Counseling Awareness Month Celebration Guide
The American Psychological Association maintains a research library on its web site that counselors may want to have in their information arsenal. Using a framework of 19 content areas, the research findings cover topics ranging from consumer/money issues to violence/violence prevention.
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