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Legislation is pending in Congress to require private health insurance plans to cover mental and addictive disorder services on the same terms and conditions as (i.e., at parity with) other types of healthcare. ACA and other mental health advocacy organizations have long been pushing for a strong federal parity law to help ensure that individuals suffering from mental, emotional, and addictive disorders get the help they need. House and Senate negotiators are very close to finalizing a landmark parity bill, and advocates are pushing to get it enacted before Congress adjourns, to avoid having to restart work on the issue next year, when health insurance reform proposals are expected to take precedence.
ACA is taking a lead role in support of parity legislation. Staff members helped organize and solicit endorsements from other Washington, DC advocacy organizations in a letter to congressional leaders urging enactment of parity legislation. Ultimately, more than 250 organizations, including both ACA and the American Mental Health Counselors Association, signed on to the letter. ACA also contributed to a newspaper advertisement in support of the legislation, which will run in a Capitol Hill policy publication, and helped publicize a grassroots call-in day on September 10th. Parity advocates also participated in a rally on Capitol Hill on September 17th.
ACA extends thanks to members who have taken the time to lend personal support for the parity legislation. To learn more about how you can help, visit the ACA website at http://www.counseling.org/publicpolicy or contact Scott Barstow at email@example.com.
Counselors are encouraged to promote and participate in the 80th anniversary of Child Health Day on October 6, 2008. A promotion guide and resources have been created by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and can be accessed at http://mchb.hrsa.gov/childhealthday/history.htm
ACA and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) have partnered to develop the ACA-ACES Syllabus Clearinghouse, a unique resource that will help counselor educators enhance the development of their courses. It will go live later this year.
For the project to be successful, counselor educators must submit their syllabi to the clearinghouse. Each contribution will enhance the overall comprehensiveness of the holdings and assist users in developing quality syllabi of their own. In the long term, this sharing will lead to a strengthening of the preservice education of counselor education students. To learn more and to submit your syllabi, please view our informational document (PDF). Each contributed syllabus will be searchable by author's name, college/university, syllabus title, key words, and category. The categories are drawn from the CACREP curriculum standards with additional categories from ACA divisions.
Every counselor educator who contributes to the Syllabus Clearinghouse in 2008 will be recognized and publicized as a Charter Contributor in such venues as Counseling Today, ACAeNews, Spectrum, and both the ACES and ACA websites. Submitting your syllabus will bring professional recognition for your work, exposure for your counselor education program for the university, and most of all, appreciation from your peers.
In the most comprehensive report to date on the subject of teens and electronic video games, the Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that half of American teens play these games daily. The study found surprising diversity in game playing (4 of 5 teens compete in 5 or more game genres), not restricting themselves to the war simulating, fighting, and combative games of aggression once believed to dominate game choices. More popular were games involving racing, puzzle solving and sports competition.
The study also looked at the social context of game play and the role parents play in monitoring what has become a dominant activity in teen life. For most teens, video game play is a social activity with 65% indicating they play with others in the room and 27% with individuals they have met over the Internet.
The aftermath of the most recent hurricanes and the potential effects of those to come point to the importance of the emergency services program of the American Red Cross and the work that licensed mental health professionals can play in disaster relief efforts. ACA and ARC are working together to provide relief efforts in communities affected by Hurricanes Hannah and Ike and to prepare for future ones. Eligible members can learn more about participating in this work.
Beginning October 15, 2008, the ACA Ethics Committee will begin accepting registrations for the fifth annual Ethics Case Study Competition. This popular student activity is open to Master's and Doctoral level students in counselor education programs across the nation. Visit www.counseling.org/ethics to learn more about the competition, or contact Larry Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions is December 14, 2008.
Asserting that learning and succeeding in school depend on the active engagement of the learner, the Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA released a guide, "Engaging and Reengaging Students in Learning in Schools" in September. The failure of schools to address the student motivation and engagement issues as reform measures, the guide suggests, will result in limited improvements (if any) in test scores, undesirable behavior, and dropout rates.
Chief Professional Officer David Kaplan represented ACA at the formal dedication of the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial on September 11, 2008. The ceremony included remarks from President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. Each of the 184 individuals killed when Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon had their names read aloud, followed by the sounding of a bell.
The Pentagon memorial includes a bench and reflecting pool for each person killed. The names on the benches are placed so that those of the plane passengers face the open sky and those who were inside the building are facing the Pentagon. The program and other materials from the ceremony have been placed in the ACA display case and members are welcome to visit ACA headquarters to view them. Members visiting ACA can also watch the commemorative DVD given to attendees titled "A Nation Remembers: The Story of the Pentagon Memorial."
The annual report of the College Board states the number of students taking the SAT for college admission purposes has reached an all-time high of 1,518,859. But the number of test takers is the only thing increasing: the high school senior class of 2008 virtually held steady. Overall, average scores on various portions of the test (critical reading, math, and writing) remained constant and differences in the results of ethnic groups persist, with black and Hispanic students attaining considerably lower scores on average than white and Asian students.The 2008 group was the most diverse class on record with historic increases in the number of Hispanic, African American, and Asian American students taking the test.
Toyota Teacher (or Counselor) of the Year Award
Each year the National Center for Family Literacy selects the Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year Award from among those nominees who demonstrate exemplary efforts to help parents and children achieve their academic and non-academic goals. Nominations are submitted online. Maximum award: $7,500. Eligibility: Educators (including counselors) who strive to help families improve their literacy skills. Deadline: December 5, 2008.
State Farm Companies Grants Support Global Youth Service Day 2009
The State Farm Companies Foundation and Youth Service America are pleased to announce grants of up to $1,000 to support child-led service projects. These grants support children (ages 5-14) in planning and implementing service projects in their community. Counselors, educators, older youth (15-25) and youth-serving organizations are also eligible to apply if they engage younger children in planning and implementing the project. Grantees are encouraged to develop a 14-week service-learning projects that launch on the Martin Luther King Day of Service, January 19, 2009, and culminate on the weekend of GYSD (April 24-26, 2009). Deadline: October 30, 2008.
Make It Matter Grants of the Reader's Digest Foundation
The Make It Matter Grants of the Reader's Digest Foundation identify people whose stories of giving back inspire others. The foundation will donate funds to a nonprofit organization that is associated either with a particular story or cause. Selected stories will then appear in a new, monthly Make It Matter column in Reader's Digest and at www.rd.com, beginning in April 2009. Maximum award: $100,000. Eligibility: Story submissions can come from anyone, however, grants will only be made to 501(c)(3) organizations. Deadline: January 1, 2009.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its annual Kids Count report. The data included within the report cover a range of topics related to the well-being of children in our society, such as indicators related to health and wellness, educational attainment, and socioeconomic status. State-by-state profiles are also included.
More than 600 ACA members responded to a late August call by Heritage of America, a designated disabled veteran owned company, to provide compensated counseling services to veterans who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. ACA, a major subcontractor to the HOA Department of Veterans Affairs contract, has the responsibility for identifying counselors, conducting training and providing professional oversight throughout the initiative. There is a continuing need for ACA members to submit.
This program may continue, contingent upon federal funding, for up to five years. ACA members from the District of Columbia and all states except Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee will be needed on an ongoing basis. (HOA did not get the contract for these six states). ACA members living outside the U. S. are also needed in Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Rim including Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Guam and Somoa.
The contract requires professional counselors who have a masters or doctoral degree and are licensed to diagnose and treat mental disorders (e.g. LPC, LCPC, LMHC). ACA members who meet these qualifications can submit a letter of interest along with their resume to Tom Kiley, HOA Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at email@example.com
In the September 9, 2008 edition of ACAeNews, the email address of the contact person for the Heritage of America project providing counseling services to veterans was incorrect. The correct email address for Tom Kiley, HOA Vice President and Chief Financial Officer is firstname.lastname@example.org. ACAeNews regrets any inconvenience caused by this error.
October 31-November 2
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