Monthly Archives: June 2010

2010-2013 Testing Dates

IC&RC has established four annual testing cycles.  IC&RC Member Boards have the option to choose Paper and Pencil Exams or Computer Based Testing (CBT). 


  Paper & Pencil Computer Based Testing (CBT)
2010 September 10 & 11 September 13-25
  December 10 & 11 November 29 – December 18
2011 March 11 & 12 March 14-26
  June 10 & 11 June 13-25
  September 9 & 10 September 12-24
  December 9 & 10 November 28 – December 17
2012 March 9 & 10 March 12-24
  June 8 & 9 June 11-23
  September 14 & 15 September 17-29
  December 7 & 8 November 26 – December 15
2013 March 8 & 9 March 11-23
  June 14 & 15 June 17-29
  September 13 & 14 September 16-28
  December 13 & 14 December 2-21


Please check with your local Member Board for more specific information.

Legislative Corner – June 25, 2010

by Andrew Kessler, Federal Policy Liaison

A major policy focus for IC&RC over the past few months has been Indian Health.  Six of the IC&RC member boards credential counselors to work in Indian Health or tribal settings.  Because of this, IC&RC has joined the coalition “Friends of the Indian Health Service.”  In this coalition, we join such prominent health organizations as the American Dental Association, the American Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation, and the American Public Health Association.  Through the Friends, IC&RC has been represented at two meetings with Congressional Appropriations Staff and was also represented at a meeting with the IHS Director this month.

During our May trip to Albuquerque, IC&RC Executive Director Mary Jo Mather and I had the chance to meet with David Lente and Ken Thomas, who work with the Albuquerque Area Inter-Tribal Council on Substance Abuse Certification Board.  We discussed the importance of cultural sensitivity in counselor training, the very issue that led to the formation of this board in the late 1980s. We also discussed the need for highly trained clinical supervisors, and the importance of that IC&RC credential.  Lastly, it was stressed how important it is that IC&RC and their Native American boards remain involved in criminal justice issues.  According to the most recent data, treatment needs of Native Americans are triple those of the rest of the population (30% vs. 10.7%)

In the upcoming Fiscal Year Appropriations (FY 2011), the Indian Health Service is slated to receive an additional $4 million, set aside specifically for its substance abuse treatment program.  If it passes, it will come in the form of a new competitive IHS grant program to expand access to and improve the quality of treatment for substance abuse treatment services as part of the national drug control strategy. The program will target sites with the greatest need for substance abuse services. The main goal of the grant program will be to enable Indian Health Service, Tribal and Urban facilities to hire additional staff to provide evidence-based and practice-based culturally competent treatment services. The total request for Alcohol and Substance Abuse for the IHS in FY 2011 is $206 million.

The IHS has a loan repayment program for health professionals who return to tribal areas to practice upon graduation.  Currently, the professionals who are eligible are doctors, dentists, nurses, psychologists, and podiatrists.  Substance abuse counselors do not qualify.  However, we have begun our efforts to change this, and our goal is to have counselors qualify for this program.  Unfortunately, this could be a long process.  Yet it is still worthwhile.  Not only will success encourage more Native Americans to enter the counseling profession by making it more affordable, it will help address the issue of cultural competencies and treatment.  IC&RC has made cultural competencies in treatment a high policy priority.  Currently, close to 87% of all counselors who work with Native Americans are not of Native American descent, nor do they have any background or training in Native American culture.  This has a very negative impact on their ability to make progress with their patients.

Protected: Prevention Specialist Exam – Answers

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Q&A: Leading the Field

Prevention is fortunate to have a significant number of dedicated and competent prevention specialists who are clearly leaders in the field.  One of these individuals is Julie Stevens, LCDC, CPS, who is Chairperson of the IC&RC  Prevention Committee and the Texas State Liaison for the Southwest Prevention Center, University of Oklahoma. 

Sandra Del Sesto recently interviewed our colleague for IC&RC Insights – here is the result of that conversation:

SDS: How long have you been working in prevention?

I began working in the substance abuse field in the prison in Huntsville, TX in 1984.  I became a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor in 1987, but began working on the prevention side in 1989.

SDS: How long have you been certified?

I grandfathered in to the CPS when it was first offered in Texas in 1997.

SDS: What got you into prevention work in the first place?

I received my undergraduate degree in psychology from Baylor University.  While staying home with my young children, I decided to do some volunteer work at the local women’s shelter.  Alcohol was a significant contributor to the abuse that these women suffered.  So I went to work in the prison alcohol and drug program and became a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor.  It was apparent that one-on-one therapy was not my “gift.”  

When I was promoted to Director of Prevention at the Tarrant Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Fort Worth, I realized that I had found my niche.  I enjoyed the training, advocacy and networking that came along with the job.  I later became Executive Director of Tarrant County Challenge, a unique organization whose function was to advocate for substance abuse services in the county.  I left that position to move to Austin to take the position of Director of Prevention for Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

SDS: Over the years what do you see as the most important trends in our field?

Our field has come a long way.  We now have research that tells us what is effective and what is not.  We have data that guides our planning processes.  As the budgets for prevention and other behavioral health services tighten, the science of prevention is more and more critical. 

We also face a mounting movement to legalize drugs.   I believe that this threat will make our jobs even more difficult and frustrating.  We must show that our prevention strategies work and that investing in prevention will save us dollars and lives in the long run.

SDS: What is the status of prevention and prevention certification in your state? Mandated, recommended, how many certified?

Prevention funding in Texas is always an issue.  Texas has many challenges, including education, transportation, and health services.  Our main funding stream for prevention is the 20% set-aside from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant.  The single state agency in Texas is the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).  DSHS requires that program directors of prevention programs funded by SAPT block grant monies must be Certified Prevention Specialists.  Other preventionists are encouraged to be certified.  The Texas Certification Board of Addictions Professionals has created two credentials to complement the reciprocal CPS, the CPS Intern and the Advanced CPS.  We are hoping to engage budding preventionists in a career path that rewards them for their experience and education. There are approximately 225 CPSs in Texas.

SDS: Why do you believe that prevention certification is important?

Prevention certification serves as a vehicle to ensure prevention specialists have certain standard competencies determined by the field.  Certification not only protects the public, but it also ensures that effective practices are being utilized that maximize and leverage the sparse funding that prevention has to work with.

SDS: Why did you decide to become involved in IC&RC?

I became involved with the Texas Certification Board of Addictions Professionals when I met Jennifer Carr, who was the prevention representative for TCBAP.  Even though I had grandfathered into the CPS, I decided to take the exam to see what was involved and if I could pass it.  I had been doing training to prepare preventionists for the exam, so I wanted to know what the exam entailed.   After the exam, I met Jennifer, who was conducting a survey of the people who had taken the CPS exam to see where they had gotten their training.  I met with Jennifer a few times to discuss the education and preparation needed for the exam.  I was invited to the item-writing session and began attending IC&RC meetings with the other Texas Representatives.  Soon Jennifer resigned, so I was designated as her replacement.  I was also elected to the TCBAP shortly afterward, and have served since 2006.  I was instrumental in the development of the CPS Intern and Advanced CPS for Texas.  I was awarded the 2009 Terry Hale Addictions Professional of the Year by the Texas Association of Addictions Professionals.  This is significant since most of the members are treatment counselors.

SDS: As Prevention Chair of IC&RC, what do you see as your role?

I see my role as the facilitator of the prevention representatives for all the IC&RC member jurisdictions.  I believe that there is a lot of collective wisdom and commitment by these people, and it is my honor to bring them together to do what is best for the public and the field.

SDS: Now tell us a little bit about yourself personally.  What do you like to do during your free time?

During my free time, I enjoy traveling to Berlin to see my son and his wife and my two grandsons.  My son, Jeff, is a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin.  I have a grandson, Cole, who is four, and a grandson, Lane, who is two.  I have visited Berlin five or six times since they moved there in 2006. 

Last August I had the opportunity to meet Jeff and his family in Paris for a vacation.  Jeff had a conference in Rennes, so we went to France a few days early and visited Paris, Bayeaux, the beaches at Normandy, Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverney, as well as Rennes. 

I also have a son, Adam, who is a DEA special agent.  For Christmas we all decided to take a “destination holiday,” and we met in Athens, Greece.  We spent several days in Athens and Delphi, and then went to the island of Santorini for the rest of the trip.  I enjoy being with my sons and their wives and families in these fabulous places.  My son Adam will be transferred to Lima, Peru next year, so I am looking forward to traveling to South America next.

Additional questions or comments for Ms. Stevens can be directed to

Coming Soon: Prevention Awards Nominations

Prevention professionals work hard, and their accomplishments are rarely recognized.  For this reason, IC&RC’s Prevention Committee is creating an annual award to honor an individual for their contributions to the field of prevention. Each member board may nominate one person – certified in prevention and in good standing – from their jurisdiction. So keep your eyes out for nomination information and forms to come by email – and start thinking about who has made a difference in your area!

Ethical Fitness

by Linda Verst

Last evening I attended my first meeting for widows and widowers at a local church that is well-known for its ministry to singles.  In spite of a history of passionate public and private speaking promoting ATOD prevention, I found myself dragging my feet for months (okay, honesty here) years, but I found the place, took a deep breath and made some new friends.  For me, this is a first step toward dating; something I’ve not done for 40 or so years!

Another first we can chalk up is the Ethical Fitness column and more importantly our first Ethical Fitness column response in IC&RC Insights! You may recall that we looked at whether a small town prevention coalition should accept money from a beer distributor for the county high school’s annual all-night post prom party.

Thanks, Jill Weinischke, for sharing your experience clearly and concisely:

“We have had these discussions and as a prevention specialist we should definitely NOT accept resources from the alcohol industry if we are trying to prevent underage drinking or drinking and driving – it is ethically a conflict of interest. We can find the money somewhere else. In our case, the father of one of our Pride Students worked for the local beer distributor and he understood – he actually gave a private donation instead.”

This, our second column addresses an ethical issue faced by a young woman facing her own “first” experience: a new job as a prevention specialist.  Here’s her dilemma:

You have just accepted your first job as a certified prevention specialist at a regional alcohol & other drug prevention agency.  You are so excited, having worked long and hard, first getting your bachelor’s in Human Services, then working in social service for a state agency while putting together your portfolio and finally passing the state Prevention exam.

Your primary responsibility in this new position will be to implement a grant designed to prevent alcohol use by pregnant women.  There is just one hitch: Entry level prevention positions in your area don’t pay well, and you need an additional part time job to meet expenses.  You’ve supplemented your income very successfully in the past with a local restaurant as a bartender.  They will be happy to have you and are very flexible about arranging hours to suit you.

Is this a conflict of interest?

Please comment here or email your thoughts to

RI Board Adds HIV Endorsement

In October 2009, the Rhode Island Board for Certification of Chemical Dependency Professionals began to work collaboratively with the Rhode Island Department of Health in the development of a Prevention certification specific to individuals serving the HIV/AIDS & Viral Hepatitis population.

It was determined that any individual delivering Prevention services needed to have a basic foundation of knowledge and experience. The Department of Health reviewed and concurred with IC&RC’s standards for Certified Prevention Specialist and agreed that this would be the basis for an endorsement to the already internationally recognized certification.

Rhode Island has three levels of Prevention certification: Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS – reciprocal), Advanced Certified Prevention Specialist (ACPS-non reciprocal), and Certified Prevention Specialist Supervisor (CPSS). All levels will be eligible to obtain the HIV/AIDS & Viral Hepatitis Endorsement.

In addition to the experience, educational, supervision and written examination requirements for each level of Prevention certification, completion of the following courses are required to be awarded the HIV/AIDS & Viral Hepatitis Endorsement:

54 Hours HIV/AIDS & Viral Hepatitis Specific Training which includes:

-12 Hours Integrated HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis 101

-18 Hours Integrated HIV/AIDS & Viral Hepatitis Counseling, Testing and Referral
-6 Hours Confidentiality
-18 Hours Sexual Risk Behaviors and Harm Reduction Strategies

All coursework must be approved by DOH – Project REACH.

The RIBCCDP believes the step towards endorsements to reciprocal credentials will allow individuals to seek specialties in their respective field.