Current CTAMFT legislative happenings
CTAMFT 2023 Mental Health Champion Award Recipients
CTAMFT annually recognizes Connecticut legislators that exemplify prioritizing the Mental Health community in their legislative work. This year CTAMFT has chosen 5 recipients of the CTAMFT Mental Health Champion Award. These recipients are Senator Heather Somers (R), Representative Nicole Klarides-Ditria (R), Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D), Representative Liz Linehan (D), and Senator Ceci Maher (D). Representative Linehan and Senator Maher are in leadership roles on the Committee for Children. Representatives Klarides-Ditria and McCarthy Vahey as well as Senator Somers are all in leadership roles on the Public Health Committee. These legislators were pivotal members in passing the licensing modernizations of the 2023 legislative session including, parity in licensing which led to a significant licensure fee reduction for MFTS. These legislators also continue to show commitment to mental health issues in Connecticut, encapsulate respect for our mental health providers as well as prioritize funding for mental health programming. Our CTAMFT Chair, Rebecca Ruitto, and CTAMFT Advocacy Chair, Jaime Rodriguez met with Senator Somers, Representative Klarides-Ditria, and Representative McCarthy Vahey on Friday at the capitol building to personally present their Mental Health Champion Awards, thank them for their commitment to MFTs and discuss important topics for the upcoming 2024 legislative session. Advocacy Chair, Jaime Rodriguez, is still planning in person meetings with Representative Linehan and Senator Maher. We would love for our members to reach out to these legislators and congratulate them on being a Mental Health Champion of 2023 and thank them for their service to MFTs and the mental health community at large. It is especially meaningful if one of these legislators is your representative. It means so much for them to hear from you! Find your legislators here https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp
See legislator email addresses below:
CTAMFT Advocacy Chair appointed to HITAC
CTAMFT’s Advocacy Chair, Jaime Rodriguez,LMFT, has been appointed to the Connecticut Health Information Technology Advisory Council by Senator Martin M. Looney. The passage of Public Act 16-77 and 17-2 designated the role of Health Information Technology Officer (HITO) as well as the establishment of the Health IT Advisory Council (HITAC). HITAC was established to advise in the development and implementation of the state-wide health information technology plan and the state-wide Health Information Exchange (CONNIE). Connecticut Mental Health Associations have all been working together with CONNIE staff and OHS (Office of Health Strategy) staff to address ongoing mental health provider concerns regarding CONNIE. As a result of this important interprofessional advocacy work, it was determined that mental health provider representation was necessary on the Advisory Council that will influence OHS’s development of CONNIE policies, procedures and regulations. The Behavioral Health Inter Professional Coalition that contains representation from all CT Mental Health Provider State Associations (MFTs, Social Workers, LPCs, LADCs, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, APRNs) were thus allowed a collaborative nomination to the Advisory Council. CTAMFT’s very own Jaime Rodriguez, LMFT was chosen as the top choice and nomination by all Interprofessional members to represent Connecicut’s mental health providers. This nomination was approved and appointed by Senator Looney on Friday, October 20, 2023. Jaime’s ability to incorporate a systemic approach has facilitated an increase in the collaboration amongst various mental health associations in the state and the ongoing recognition of MFTs contributing to larger systemic decisions within Connecticut. Jaime will continue to work with all state mental health provider organization representatives in this process to best represent the mental health community in regards to CONNIE policies, procedures and regulations and their implementation. We are so proud of our Advocacy Chair, Jaime Rodriguez, for her continuous advocacy efforts and embodying the power of systemic thinking!!
MFTs in Schools
Connecticut has enacted mental health programming grants that have been announced for multiple school districts across Connecticut. These districts will be looking to hire new staff for the specific role of School Mental Health Specialist, a role that CTAMFT Advocacy Team worked to acquire a new legislatively defined job title that includes MFTs and all other qualified mental health providers replacing the non inclusive titles of “School Social Worker” or “School Counselor” that was blocking MFTs from being hired for these positions. If you are interested in working in the school system take a look and monitor the district websites for job postings. There are also several awards for mental health summer programming that have been announced as well so feel free to check those out too! Recipients of School Mental Health Specialist Grants can be found here.