PLEASE NOTE: The ACA website will be down Monday, August 10 thru Friday, August 14 so that we can implement a database upgrade. The 800 number and Member Services team will be operational and staff will be able to receive emails. Call 800-347-6647, or 703-823-9800, x222 if you need assistance. We apologize for any inconvenience. This issue includes links only to websites other than counseling.org due to the website being down next week.
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The House passed its fiscal year (FY) 2010 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education on July 24th, by a vote of 264-153. The legislation, H.R. 3293, includes $67.759 billion in funding for programs under the Department of Education, an increase of more than $6 billion over last fiscal year, and just under the President's request of $67.77 billion.
Included in this total is a healthy $55 million for the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP), which is $3 million more than the program received in fiscal year 2009. The report accompanying the appropriations bill noted that research has found that "school counseling programs have a significant impact in reducing student disciplinary problems, enhancing problem solving skills, and increasing career knowledge," and that school counseling programs have "a small but positive" impact on academic achievement. H.R. 3293 also includes $868 million for the TRIO programs and $333 million for GEAR UP, which is a $20 million increase over last year for each program.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is marking up its version of the spending bill this week. Although most debate regarding the legislation has focused on issues relating to healthcare, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), who chairs the committee, has indicated he will push for the inclusion of money for school construction. ACA will be working to maximize support for school counseling services within the appropriations bills as they move through Congress.
Both the House and Senate are continuing to deliberate on health insurance reform legislation, including changes to the Medicare program, while the calendar turns closer and closer to Congress's annual August recess. Momentum for passage of healthcare legislation appeared to stall in mid-July, with the House Energy & Commerce Committee calling off its mark-up of the House bill (H.R. 3200) and the continued failure of the Senate Finance Committee to introduce its own version. However, a developing consensus among three Democrats and three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee may lead to a break in the logjam before the Senate adjourns for its summer recess beginning August 7th.
President Obama and congressional leaders had wanted to pass health insurance legislation on both the House and Senate floor before the August break, to allow the development of a single, conference version of the legislation for each chamber to consider upon reconvening in September.
ACA is following health insurance reform legislation closely. H.R. 3200, the House healthcare legislation, includes a provision to establish Medicare coverage of licensed professional counselors, which we strongly support. It remains to be seen if the Senate Finance Committee's legislation will include this important Medicare benefit improvement, but we are continuing to work closely with committee members toward this end.
This work includes a full court press of constituent lobbying visits on Capitol Hill, which occurred on July 31st by attendees at the ACA Institute for Leadership Training. Face-to-face meetings with constituents work better than any other form of communication with lawmakers, and the lobbying visits by counselors will raise our profile with Congress on Medicare and healthcare issues.
ACA encourages counselors to contact their Representative and Senators to urge passage of health insurance reform legislation, including Medicare coverage of counselors. For more information on this issue, contact Scott Barstow with ACA at 800-347-6647 x234, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new ACA blog activity at http://my.counseling.org is becoming a popular vehicle for blogger and member interaction. At the blog link, members can read the blogger offerings, write a comment, and take a stand regarding the postings, including the recent arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has announced that an interdisciplinary team of four research institutions will carry out the largest study of suicide and mental health among military personnel ever undertaken, with $50 million in funding from the U.S. Army. Study investigators aim to move quickly to identify risk and protective factors for suicide among soldiers and provide a science base for effective and practical interventions to reduce suicide rates and address associated mental health problems.
The study is a direct response to the Army's request to NIMH to enlist the most promising scientific approaches for addressing the rising suicide rate among soldiers. A memorandum of agreement between NIMH and the Army, signed in October 2008, authorized NIMH to undertake the investigation with Army funding. Suicide rates among Army personnel have risen substantially since the beginning of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan despite major surveillance and intervention efforts introduced by the Army to prevent suicides over this period.
The research institutions include the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the University of Michigan, Harvard Medical School, and Columbia University. Additional information about the projected research can be found in the National Institute of Health media release.
Nearly 53 percent of full-time undergraduate students borrowed money to attend college in 2007-8, compared with 49.5 percent in 2003-4, according to the Education Sector's analysis of data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study. The proportion of students who borrowed at public two-year institutions and private, nonprofit four-year institutions stayed about the same over that time period, while the proportion at public four-year colleges grew slightly.
The full report, "Drowning in Debt: The Emerging Student Loan Crisis," is available at http://www.educationsector.org.
Comprehensive Mental Health Services (CHS) is currently seeking ACA members as Disaster Mental Health Workers for the firm's government contracts for any type of disaster in the continental United States. Applicants must be certified as Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Volunteers, hold a graduate degree in a mental health field, and meet other time, credential and insurance requirements.
The Federal Trade Commission will begin enforcing the Red Flags Rule to prevent identity theft on November 1, 2009. The action may have implications for counselors in private practice. So what do our members need to know?
Questions should be directed to the FTC at RedFlags@ftc.gov
McDonald House Grants for Children Projects
Ronald McDonald House supports programs that help children read, provide nutritious after-school meals, offer life-changing surgeries, or help prevent life-threatening disease. Ronald McDonald House Charities Board of Trustees is most interested in national and/or international organizations that have a specific program related to children's health and wellbeing. The maximum award varies; nonprofit organizations are eligible. Deadline: September 4, 2009.
Target Field Trip Grants
The Target Field Trip Grants program provides funds for K-12 field trips in order to give students throughout the country the opportunity to explore more of the world outside the classroom. For the new school year, 5,000 grants of up to $800 each will be awarded to educators who are employed by accredited K-12 public, private, or charter schools. Eligible field trips include art, science, and cultural museum visits; community service and civic projects; and educational and career enrichment opportunities. Online applications will be available from August 5 through November 3, 2009.
The Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking nominations to fill vacant appointments to the 2010 Council of Public Representatives (COPR) Roster. Applications are due September 25, 2009, and are available online at http://copr.nih.gov/nomination.asp.
NIH will host a toll-free teleconference to present information on NIH and the NIH Director's Council of Public Representatives from the perspectives of the staff and current Council members on August 26, 2009, from 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST. To register for the teleconference, send an e-mail with your name, affiliation, e-mail, and telephone number to COPR1@palladianpartners.com or call the COPR resource staff at (301) 650-8660, ext. 275, by August 14.Interested individuals must register to participate in this teleconference. Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with information on how to participate.
ACA divisions, branches, and regions are valuable sources of learning and professional development. Information on events will be posted approximately 8-10 weeks prior. This information is made available to ACAeNews via the ACA master calendar and the various organization web sites. Send calendar items to email@example.com. Please provide the sponsor, dates, site and contact person information. Information posted here is restricted to that sponsored by ACA divisions, branches, regions and related organizations.
ACAeNews is published 24 times annually by the American Counseling Association for the benefit of members across the counseling profession. Any reference to a product, service, activity, or listing of a website in ACAeNews does not imply endorsement by ACA. Any views and opinions are those of the sponsoring organization and may or may not be shared by ACA.
Direct comments, questions, and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will be subject to review by ACA for accuracy, timeliness, and relevance to the readership and may be edited.
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Copyright 2009, American Counseling Association, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone: 703-823-9800. Email: email@example.com. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce anything contained in this newsletter as long as the American Counseling Association is identified as the original source of the information.
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