ERIC Identifier: ED347471
Publication Date: 1992-12-00
Author: Crouch, Toni - Walz, Garry R.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Personnel Services Ann Arbor MI.
CHDF-Partner in Professionalism. ERIC Digest.
The Counseling and Human Development Foundation (CHDF) is the only national philanthropic organization whose sole purpose is the enhancement of individual human development by conducting and fostering programs of research and education in counseling and human development. As a 501(C)(3) corporation under the Internal Revenue Service regulations, donations made to CHDF qualify as tax-deductible gifts.
CHDF was created in 1979 by the American Counseling Association (ACA) to strengthen educational and research opportunities for professional counselors. ACA, the professional association for counselors, represents 60,000 professional counselors nationwide. Although a separate and independent "not-for-profit" corporation, CHDF has continued to work closely with ACA, serving as its "Partner in Professionalism" to strengthen the counseling profession.
CHDF'S PAST ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The Professional Enhancement Grant Program alone has awarded over $150,000 to support research projects in the areas of: counseling effectiveness/outcomes, specific populations, pre- and in-service preparation, public awareness and support, and professional issues. Completed research projects are put into ERIC so all counselors can benefit from the research.
Throughout its history CHDF has also provided support to ACA and its Regions, Branches and Divisions. One of the earliest grant programs initiated by CHDF was the Branch/Region Grant Program which awarded over $25,000 to 32 ACA Regions and Branches. CHDF's financial assistance to ACA in the past includes providing funds to modernize and upgrade ACA furnishings, equipment, data processing and word processing, among other headquarters improvements; purchasing the land upon which the headquarters building is situated, and transferring that land to ACA when it purchased the building; contributing to the purchase of the ACA property on Capitol Hill; and maintaining and evaluating the performance of the investment portfolio available to provide high yield and low fees.
The Board of Trustees began this process by soliciting input from 267 ACA leaders who were asked to complete a Program Objective Survey. This survey asked the leaders to indicate their priority ranking of objectives and activities which could be funded by CHDF. The Board of Trustees then reviewed this information and decided to focus our limited resources on three critical areas: research, professional development, and public awareness/recognition. Taken together, these programs will ensure that professional counselors not only know and use the most effective techniques to help, but also that people in need will know what services can best be provided by professional counselors and how to access that help.
Advocacy research documents what professional counselors do and what roles are appropriate for professional counselors in the mental health arena. Advocacy research demonstrated the need for professional counselors, what advantages are gained by employing professional counselors, and how they can work with other professionals to provide optimum service.
Efficacy/outcome research answers two basic questions: What works? What works best? Not all of the techniques and programs which professional counselors have developed have been subjected to rigorous evaluation to establish when they are most appropriate or which are most successful. Providing such research data will improve professional counselors' skills as it helps them determine what the best program is for clients. Lack of research data has also been a hindrance to side acceptance and implementation of new programs. Without research to prove that a new program or technique works, other professional counselors may be reluctant or unable to try it. CHDF's focus on efficacy/outcome research will help make this data available.
CHDF's goal is to expand this program significantly in the upcoming years so that professional development opportunities on a wide-range of topics are accessible to professional counselors nationwide. This becomes more important as CHDF's research program begins to identify techniques and programs which are most effective--Professional Development Programs will help train professional counselors in these proven techniques. Such a concerted effort of linking research results to professional development will provide professional counselors with the most effective tools available.
CHDF's first step is to develop and implement our Community Disaster Response Program. Our goal is to mobilize counseling support in times of crisis, such as the Challenger explosion, Hurricane Hugo, the Gulf War, or the Los Angeles riots. Not only will this provide help when and where it is needed, but it can also highlight professional counselors' roles in helping those in need. When national attention is focused on the aftermath of a disaster, the role professional counselors play in alleviating personal pain in times of crises needs to be highlighted so that more people can benefit from that service in the future.
CHDF is committed to the counseling profession and the people it serves. Professional counselors offer a vital service helping to alleviate suffering and to prevent an individual's difficulties from becoming major mental health problems. Professional counselors need to be recognized as highly-skilled professionals whose programs are based on sound research and whose skills are continuously upgraded to reflect the most current and effective techniques. CHDF has expanded its support in research, professional development, and public awareness to help develop that recognition.
Toni Crouch is Development Officer of the Counseling and Human Development Foundation.