Message from CACREP Board Chair

Dear Counseling Community,

The COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted our world, nation, and profession into an unparalleled era. It has tested our strength, innovation, and resilience. The CACREP Board of Directors and staff continue to vigilantly monitor this ever-evolving situation; seek to be as accommodating as possible within the parameters of the CACREP standards; and respond in a timely manner to support our accredited programs. We will continue to maintain our dedicated webpage detailing CACREP’s response to Covid-19 at https://www.cacrep.org/news/cacrep-statement-on-covid-19/

As we begin this next academic year, let me take the opportunity to remind you of the accommodations and flexibilities that are still in place:

  1. Students who complete more than the minimum required direct service hours in Practicum may carry over direct service hours and apply them to Internship direct service hours. This flexibility will remain in effect until June 30, 2021.
  2. Students finishing up Practicum requirements may be permitted to enroll in Internship in the same term. However, the student must successfully complete all practicum requirements prior to commencing with Internship. This flexibility will remain in effect until June 30, 2021.
  3.  Programs may continue to use alternate program delivery formats without formally submitting a Substantive Change report. As a matter of record, please continue to document the changes that your program is making to adapt to the new realities of delivering your program.

CACREP appreciates the flexibility and innovation required in these uncertain times. We reiterate the autonomy and prerogative of programs to provide accommodations in extenuating circumstances. At the same time, CACREP expects that programs continue to be in compliance with the Standards. If and when merited, CACREP will provide further directives/guidance.

As with the direct impact this pandemic has had on counselor education programs, it also has impacted several aspects of CACREP’s operations and the accreditation review process, most notably with site visits. In Spring 2020 all in-person site visits were cancelled and site visit scheduling came to a standstill and CACREP too had to innovate its site review process. While the conduct of site visits were temporarily halted, the accreditation review process did not cease, programs continued to be approved for site visits. As a stop-gap to the backlog of approved site visits, the Board extended a no penalty extension to these programs.

  1. CACREP has begun to conduct, on a select basis, Virtual Site Visits (VSV) as detailed in the Supplement to Manual 4 – Preparing for the Onsite Visit: Virtual Site Visits at https://www.cacrep.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/VSV_Supplement_to_MM4.pdf. CACREP retains sole authority for determining program eligibility for a VSV. We anticipate that VSVs will continue throughout this academic year 2020-2021.

The costs to conduct a site visit has shifted from the travel expense of a site team to the CACREP technology infrastructure and dedicated staff time for conducting the virtual site visits. Virtual site team members continue to be provided a per diem during the site visit.

  1. CACREP will grant to programs in the accreditation review process that have been or are approved during March-December 2020 for a site visit a one year no penalty extension of accredited status, provided the Board has not granted a previous extension.
  2. Effective immediately, the CACREP Board of Directors is placing a moratorium, on the procedural ability for a program to override not being recommended during the initial desk review to proceed to site visit planning. The moratorium will remain in effect until June 30, 2021, and thereafter revisited as appropriate.

One consequence of the current backlog and adjustments to our procedures is that the accreditation review process time is now taking longer. Programs that are currently in the accreditation review process or that are planning to submit a self-study during the 2020-21 academic year need to plan accordingly

CACREP will from time to time actively solicit feedback from programs and stakeholders, however, we rely on you to keep us informed of what is happening in your program and in your state. Information you share allows CACREP to understand the most pressing issues facing accredited programs and determine how best to respond.

We remain committed to the current CACREP Standards as the minimum requirements for counselor preparation programs, as these standards are tied to state and national credentialing in multiple specialty areas. We feel confident in the ability of programs to find creative ways to meet the Standards while also navigating the challenges associated with our current reality. We are here to support you – please continue to share with us your concerns and your successes.

Sincerely,

Amy Milsom, Chair

CACREP Board of Directors