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Workforce challenges in New York State

Workforce challenges within the mental health and substance abuse service delivery system in New York State

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A.6008-A by Assembly member Bronson/S.5301-A by Senator Brouk

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To amend requirements and authorization to develop assessment-based treatment plans
for certain mental health practitioners

Organizations representing licensed mental health clinics, voluntary nonprofit child welfare agencies,
substance abuse providers, and professional organizations representing licensed mental health
counselors (LMHC), licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT) and licensed psychoanalysts (LP) support A.6008-A by Assembly member Bronson/S.5301-A by Senator Brouk, which seeks to address the workforce challenges within the mental health and substance abuse service delivery system in New York.

Specifically, the bill would make the following changes:

  1. Standardize the requirements for licensure of LMHC, LMFT, and LP to align with the existing requirements for other licensed diagnosing professions (LCSW);
  2. Authorize LMHCs, LMFTs, and LPs to diagnose and develop assessment-based treatment plans; and
  3. Provide agencies and clinics continued workforce flexibilities until full implementation of the legislation.

There are critical workforce shortages in the public mental health and substance use disorder systems of care across New York State. For decades, the dramatic shortage of licensed mental health professionals has been “masked” by an exemption to the scope of practice for LMHCs, LMFTs, LPs and LMSW/LCSWs. The exemption was addressed in Part Y of Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2018 and is due to sunset permanently on June 24, 2021. Once the exemption expires, only LCSWs, Licensed Psychologists and physicians will be able to diagnose There are simply not enough diagnosing professionals to meet the needs of New Yorkers. Providing the means for qualified mental health practitioners to diagnose will help provide services efficiently and effectively and avoid significant access to care issues.

Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health–related visits currently for children aged 5–11
and 12–17 years increased approximately 24%. and 31%, respectively. In 2019, 13.6% of children aged 5–17 years had received any mental health treatment in the past 12 months, including 8.4% who had taken medication for their mental health and 10.0% who received counseling or therapy from a mental health professional. (Data from CDC). There is a serious need to increase access to mental health and substance abuse services. NYS has a group of qualified licensed practitioners willing to increase their licensure requirements in order to meet the needs of New Yorkers.

For these reasons, and many more, our organizations strongly support this bill and urge its swift passage.


Abbott House
Acacia Network
Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis (ACAP)
American Association for Marriage & Family
Therapy – NY Chapter
American Counseling Association-NY Chapter (ACANY)
American Mental Health Counselors Association
Astor Services for Children & Families
Berkshire Farm Center
Blanton-Peale Institute & Counseling Center
Cardinal McCloskey School and Home for Children “dba” Cardinal McCloskey
Catholic Charities of Broome County
Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies (CMPS)
Child & Family Services
Children’s Home of Jefferson County
Children’s Village
Coalition for Hispanic Family Services
Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies
Families First in Essex County, Inc
Franziska Racker Centers, Inc.
Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy
Glove House
Good Shepherd Services
Hillside Family of Agencies
Hope for Youth
House of the Good Shepherd
ICAN (Integrated Community Alternatives Network)
Institute for Community Living
Institute for Expressive Analysis (IEA)
Institute of Counseling and Psychoanalytic Studies (ICPS)
Jewish Child Care Association
LaSalle School
Liberty Resources, Inc.
MHA of Westchester County
N.Y. Psychotherapy & Counseling Center
National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP)
National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP)
National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis (NPAP)
New York Association for Counselor Education & Supervision
New York Graduate School of Psychoanalysis (NYGSP)
New York Mental Health Counselors Association (NYMHCA)
New York State Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health
Northern Rivers Family Services
OLV Human Services
Pathways, Inc.
SCO Family of Services
Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services
St. Catherine’s Center for Children
St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital Center Child & Family Institute
Staten Island Mental Health Society, Inc., a Division of RUMC
Alliance of Psychotherapy Training Institutes
The Child Center of NY
The Jewish Board
The New York Foundling
The Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center
The William George Agency for Children’s Services
University Settlement
Vanderheyden, Inc.