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A Message From the President

This message is to ALL MFTs in New Jersey, both NJAMFT-IA members and non-members. The story is told of a lobbyist who received a request by a local professional association to address their membership. He was asked to present on (1) the potential threats to their profession within the state; (2) the need for state and local legislative advocacy; and (3) the value of having a lobbyist to represent their interests and concerns. The lobbyist was happy to accept. He was excited about their interest and was eager to outline the critical need of professions to have effective local advocacy. In preparing his address, he did some research on legislation that related to the association’s profession and industry. Having thus prepared, he began his presentation by stating that he had some bad news to share. His research had found that the association’s profession had been legislated out of existence two months prior!

This story is usually received with a mixture of chuckles and groans. However, the story becomes far more instructive than humorous when one learns that this was not fiction . . . it actually happened! Nothing impacts your livelihood more than your state regulations and laws. No one is there to safeguard your interests and advocate for them at the state level other than NJAMFT-IA.  Whether you are a member of NJAMFT-IA or not, if you are an LMFT, we are working to protect and help you! We need your support to continue to do this work. Consider making an investment in your professional practice by contributing to our legislative advocacy fund.

The NJAMFT-IA Legislative Committee is currently tracking 169 bills in Trenton through our lobbyist. We are pursuing amendments in many of those bills. Fourteen of them must have LMFTs included as recognized providers in the programs and services covered. One of the most critical and productive tasks that the Legislative Committee performs has been identifying bills that would create or expand behavioral health services but currently exclude LMFTs as recognized providers. Once identified, we then seek to amend those bills to include LMFTs and have been very successful in achieving this.

We created and succeeded with the passage of bills that resulted in an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist license. This made the path to licensure more reasonable, fair and comparable to those of other behavioral health professions. We are currently advocating to have legislation written that would protect LMFT’s right to diagnosis and are pursuing many more goals for MFTs in New Jersey. The committee works very hard. Its effectiveness has been absolutely dependent upon having an experienced, professional lobbyist in place. Our lobbyist is our eyes, ears and voice in Trenton.

A lobbyist is needed for us to know when a piece of legislation negative to LMFTs is introduced. This is crucial. We cannot respond to bills that we do not know exist. We also need a lobbyist to carry our messages to Trenton. The committee can and does advocate with phone calls, emails, correspondence and visits to our legislators’ offices. But we don’t have the ability or the access to gain timely, direct contact with them or other key players in Trenton. Nor do we have the relationships, store of good-will, and legislative acumen that comes from decades of working the State House.

Help us keep our lobbyist in place to protect and advance our profession. The NJAMFT-IA Board and committee members are comprised of uncompensated volunteers. 100% of Your contribution will be used solely for the purpose of retaining the services of our lobbyist. Your generosity in making the most generous contribution is valued. One way to do this is to offer the equivalent of just 1 hour of your regular hourly rate. You may send a check, made payable to NJAMFT-IA to: NJAMFT-IA, C/o Tarcila Sutterley, 798 Willow Grove Street, Cottage 2, Hackettstown, NJ 07840 We’ve provided you with years of work and we are asking you to Thank you for joining us to protect and advance our mutual benefits and concerns.
Respectfully,

NJAMFT-IA Board of Directors

Please address any inquiries to: tsutterley@outlook.com; kenmcgilllmft@gmail.com, milesburklow@gmail.com