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Mental Health Community Applauds New Licensure Act

Finally, after years of hard work on the part of mental health professionals, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has passed a bill (SB 619) that offers licensure for master's level and above counselors, marriage & family therapists, and clinical social workers. The final bill includes a "grandfather" clause to license current practitioners who pass an examination.

SB 619 passed the Senate 48-0 and the House 199-3; a huge majority that illustrates the results of lobbying and educational efforts aimed at legislators. The bill takes effect 60 days after being signed by the Governor.

SB 619 sets up a 13-member composite board made up of five social workers, two public members, two marriage and family therapists, two professional counselors, and one who is the Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs. The additional seat on the board will alternate between a marriage and family therapist and a professional counselor.

The passage of the licensure bill is due to the years of effort, the thousands of letters, and the hundreds of visits and phone calls generated in support of mental health licensure by the Alliance of Counseling Professionals, PCPA members, and others in the mental health community. Congratulations to all those who worked so hard on this piece of legislation.

For an in-depth analysis of the bill's provisions, visit the Pennsylvania Counseling Associations website at www.uofs.edu/pca

For a copy of SB 619, printer's number 2288, call the House Document Room at 717-787-5320.

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