CAARR Newsletter - Sept 2013

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Fall Membership Meeting in Palm Springs

27CAARR's fall membership meeting was held on September 16-18 in fabulous Palm Springs. CAARR Board President Jim O'Connell convened the meeting on Monday, and did so by announcing that this meeting would, in fact, be momentous and of the highest order of importance, in that the Board would be asking CAARR Members to vote on a proposal to unify CAARR and CAADAC as an entirely new organization known as the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals - CCAPP. By announcing the planned Tuesday vote during Monday's meeting, Jim provided advance notice so everyone would be able to ask questions and discuss the plan ahead of time. Dave Nielsen, Chief, Substance Use Disorders - Prevention, Treatment, Recovery Services, Department of Health Care Services presented his overview of the state of SUD services in California, the kick-off of national health care reform beginning in January, drug Medi-Cal issues, and workforce development plans.

Unification via CCAPP came up during the Membership Meeting on Tuesday morning. Making a long story short, CAARR Members first voted UNANIMOUSLY to approve the concept of unifying with CAADAC into a completely new organization. Next, our Members also voted UNANIMOUSLY to officially re-write CAARR's bylaws so CAARR will be dissolved and its Articles of Incorporation will be amended to become the new counselor credentialing organization within CCAPP.

This decision was both historic and necessary. CAARR was founded over 42 years ago, and as Susan Blacksher noted, change is as difficult as it is inevitable. Tears were definitely shed, but by the end of the meeting the sense of optimism was pervasive. CCAPP will be stronger than CAARR or CAADAC is today and it will be the one organization with more clout than any other AOD/SUD advocacy organization in California. The changes headed our way absolutely require Programs and Professionals to speak with one clear, loud and strong voice to advocate effectively and decisively. We need to prevail in the disputes that are coming for the good of our clients, counselors, and programs and CCAPP will do that.

A major added note: as CCAPP, and for the first time, CAS counselors will be able to become Voting Members of our new organization. Counselors are equally as important in CCAPP as programs, will share voting strength equally on the Board of Directors, and that the new system will preserve and improve counselor certification. In the words of Lori Newman, the CCAPP counselor certification program includes a career ladder, and "No counselor will be left behind". ALL CAS and all CADC counselors will move into the CCAPP certification system automatically. Certification Renewals will occur as usual.

The bottom line is that because our programs and counselors give so much and care so much for the field we've chosen, CAARR's Board of Directors and our Membership decided that CCAPP is the path forward. Congratulations to EVERYBODY for recognizing and supporting these very positive changes!

For the next several months, CAARR will continue to exist as CAARR. CAADAC members first have to vote on the proposal to unify with CAARR and become CCAPP on October 5th. If CAADAC members also vote to transform (which we expect they will), a lot of work will have to take place before the end of the year to finish working out details of running the Consortium, transferring our certification systems into a single unit, and filing legal documents, We can't say exactly when CCAPP will actually have its "birthday", but it will be another day to celebrate when it comes.


CONSULTING150G1 Group SI0522UCLA, under contract with our State Government, issued a draft "workforce development" plan for the future of the AOD/SUD workforce in California. In brief, it could spell big trouble for the existing workforce because UCLA decided to almost completely ignore the counselors and programs providing almost ALL of the current treatment. When they do address the current system, they call counselors "under-educated" and "unqualified".
The so-called "researchers" from UCLA never bothered to research California's counselor education and the certification exam process --- including the national accreditation our certification boards must earn - before asserting that our system is, basically, terrible. They didn't elicit any feedback from the roughly 2,000 programs licensed or certified by DHCS which employ the current and future workforce. They didn't present any research whatsoever addressing any differences in outcomes between our programs and the pure medical model they assert will take over. In fact, most of their work is pure speculation backed up by all the power of academics asserting that they know best.

In the day when we hear so much about evidence-based practices, CAARR expects UCLA to come out with evidence-based recommendations. So far, they've provided almost nothing that's based on evidence.

The report so far is a draft only, and UCLA has time to fix it. It will take a LOT of fixing. If they issue recommendation to DHCS without addressing our concerns, CAARR and CAADAC will kick our grassroots networks into overdrive, so be ready. This thing is big and it WILL affect all of us.


CONSULTING150G1 WomanAndMan SI0577This year in Southern California
To be a part of this exciting project, contact Lisa Gish at the CAARR office:

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CAARR Newsletter - August 2013

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Two Pieces of Legislation that are important to CAARR member programs and to registered and certified counselors will be center stage in August and early September

Senate Bill 570

Senate Bill 570 was amended in July to address the key recommendation in the report called "Suspect Treatment" issued in May by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes, or SOOO. "Suspect Treatment" states, "Californians who seek help for addictions must rely on a system that allows them to be treated by registered sex offenders and other serious felons, as well as counselors facing current drug and alcohol charges and those already revoked for misconduct ...".

The key recommendation is that people working in the treatment field should have a criminal history background check. SB 570 imposes that requirement on everyone who applies to register or become a certified counselor. It would also apply to everyone renewing their registration or certification.

Background checks are coming, and there's no way around it. SOOO is an arm of the Senate Rules Committee, probably the most powerful Committee in the Legislature. There are plenty of people who would use, and have used, the SOOO report to disparage the entire treatment field. While that sounds unfair, CAARR has determined that the best approach is to get out in front of the issue, and do everything we can to manage it. This requires us to advocate for background checks.