National Board 

of Forensic 

Evaluators


Articles of Interest

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • 21 Oct 2016 4:02 PM | Aaron Norton (Administrator)


    The National Board of Forensic Evaluators (NBFE) is proud to announce the appointment of Dr. Stephen Giunta as Co-Chair of our Marketing & Development Committee.  Dr. Giunta is the Past President of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) and the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association (FMHCA).  Dr. Giunta is the Clinical Supervisor for Troy University's Tampa Bay campus.  He maintains a private practice in Clearwater, Florida, where he provides clinical supervision for registered mental health counselor interns, custody evaluations, and post-divorce family counseling.

    Dr. Giunta will work with our other Co-Chair of Marketing & Development, Gale Macke.  Gale is the CEO and Executive Director of the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia.


  • 21 Oct 2016 2:35 PM | Aaron Norton (Administrator)


    On 9/26/16, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released a revision to their public rules that goes into effect 1/17/17. In this revision, SSA clarifies that counselors and social workers are qualified to provide diagnostic records to SSA related to disability cases.  These additions and revisions include:

    (1) SSA rejected comments from medical organizations that sought to clarify that counselors, social workers, and other non-physician healthcare providers should not be able to provide diagnostic records for disability.  SSA clarified, "We did not adopt the recommendations. Our recognition of non-physician health care providers as other medical sources of evidence is not a new rule; see §§ 404.1513(d) and 416.913(d). The list of these other medical sources in our regulations is not all-inclusive, and our mention of licensed clinical social workers and clinical mental health counselors in final 12.00C2 is appropriate, given their roles in the treatment of people with mental disorders in both private and public settings. We believe that these other medical professionals—because they typically see patients regularly—are important sources of the evidence we need to assess the severity of a person’s mental disorder and the resulting limitations in the person’s mental disorder and the resulting limitations in the person’s functioning" (p. 66142).

    (2) SSA clarified that social workers and counselors can provide diagnostic records relevant to mental disorders: 

    "Evidence from medical sources. We will consider all relevant medical evidence about your disorder from your physician, psychologist, and other medical sources, which include health care providers such as physician assistants, psychiatric nurse practitioners, licensed clinical social workers, and clinical mental health counselors. Evidence from your medical sources may include: 

    a. Your reported symptoms. 

    b. Your medical, psychiatric, and psychological history. 

    c. The results of physical or mental status examinations, structured clinical interviews, psychiatric or psychological rating scales, measures of adaptive functioning, or other clinical findings. 

    d. Psychological testing, imaging results, or other laboratory findings. 

    e. Your diagnosis. 

    f. The type, dosage, and beneficial effects of medications you take. 

    g. The type, frequency, duration, and beneficial effects of therapy you receive. 

    h. Side effects of medication or other treatment that limit your ability to function. 

    i. Your clinical course, including changes in your medication, therapy, or other treatment, and the time required for therapeutic effectiveness. 

    j. Observations and descriptions of how you function during examinations or therapy. 

    k. Information about sensory, motor, or speech abnormalities, or about your cultural background (for example, language or customs) that may affect an evaluation of your mental disorder. 

     l. The expected duration of your symptoms and signs and their effects on your functioning, both currently and in the future.

    A statement from the American Mental Health Counselors Association focused on the ability of mental health counselors to test for and diagnose intellectual disorders: "The ability to diagnosis someone with an intellectual disability (IQ, learning etc.) is within the purview of a licensed clinical mental health counselor, if they may administer intellectual aptitude exams. Manyclinical mental health counselors have been trained or can be trained to administer and interpret such exams, as it is usually a course of psychological tests and assessments specific to clinical mental health counseling. Ethically, it is incumbent upon a licensed professional who administers the test that he or she is trained and received supervision in their use."



  • 28 Sep 2016 7:33 PM | Aaron Norton (Administrator)

    Lisa Taylor Austin-Smith, a CFMHE known for her expertise in street gangs, was recently quoted in an article on the street gang recruitment of youth who immigrate illegally into the United States.  Read the article here.


    Lisa Taylor-Austin, LPC, LMHC, CFMHE

  • 28 Sep 2016 7:26 PM | Aaron Norton (Administrator)

    NBFE is pleased to announce that the Honorable Judge Daniel Wilensky has been named the newest member of NBFE's advisory board.  Judge Wilensky serves in the 4th Judicial Circuit in Florida.  Read more about him here.


    The Honorable Judge Daniel Wilensky receiving his "Advocate of the Year" award in 2010.

  • 07 Sep 2016 7:42 PM | Aaron Norton (Administrator)

    The National Board of Forensic Evaluators (NBFE) commends Michael Holler, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida, for his successful advocacy for fair access to psychological tests in Florida.  

    Michael and his attorney filed a petition for a declaratory statement to Florida's Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, & Clinical Social Work (a.k.a. the "491 board") on 6/24/16.  The petition asked the board to clarify whether Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) can administer psychological tests.  

    The board denied Michael's request on 9/6/16.  At first glance, this would seem to be a defeat for those advocating for fair access to tests, but an exploration of the board's reason for the denial reveals an important success for counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists who conduct forensic mental health evlauations.  

    The Board reasoned that Florida statutes clearly indicate that the practice of mental health counseling in Florida "includes methods of a psychological nature used to evaluate, assess, diagnose, and treat emotional and mental dysfunctions or disorders..."  In other words, because the law is already clear on the ability of LMHCs to conduct psychological tests, there is no need for a declaratory statement.



    Michael Holler, LMHC, CFMHE, CCCE

    Michael is the Past President of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association (FMHCA), and was the 49th evaluator to earn the Certified Forensic Mental Health Evaluator (CFMHE) credential in the U.S.  He was also among the first group of CFMHEs to earn NBFE's Certified Child Custody Evaluator (CCCE) credential.  He took it upon himself to advocate successfully for fair access to tests in Florida, and we commend him for it. 

    Thanks, Michael!

    Read the details of the Board's declaration here.

    View NBFE's analysis and position paper on the question of whether or not licensed counselors can administer and interpret psychological tests here.

  • 15 Aug 2016 9:20 PM | Aaron Norton (Administrator)

    Can Licensed Mental Health Counselors Administer and Interpret Psychological Tests?

    ANALYISIS AND POSITION PAPER BY

    THE NATIONAL BOARD OF FORENSIC EVALUATORS

    The National Board of Forensic Evaluators (NBFE) adopts the position that appropriately trained licensed mental health counselors may administer and interpret psychological tests, a viewpoint consistent with various state licensure boards including Florida, the state the NBFE is headquartered in, which declared that licensed mental health counselors, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists “may administer and interpret such tests as long as they have received the appropriate training, and thus, are qualified to perform such procedures.”   We support the efforts of organizations such as the National Fair Access Coalition on Testing that advocate for “the protection and support of public access to professionals and organizations who have demonstrated competence in the administration and interpretation of assessment instruments, including psychological tests.”

    Our position is based on four premises: (1) Counselors have always been experts in testing; (2) Testing is within the scope of practice of counselors; (3) Counselors meet the standards of test manufacturers; and (4) It is impractical and unethical to prohibit counselors from administering and interpreting tests.

     

    FACT: COUNSELORS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN EXPERTS IN TESTING

    The counseling profession began in the late 1890s and early 1900s.  The first professional counselors were vocational guidance counselors who specialized in the administration and interpretation of various tests, including intelligence and aptitude tests.  We believe Newsome & Gladding (2014) put it well when they wrote that the first counselors “quickly embraced psychometrics to gain a legitimate foothold in psychology” (p. 7) .  Counselors have continued to administer and interpret such tests up to the present day.

    FACT: TESTING IS WITHIN THE SCOPE OF PRACTICE OF COUNSELORS 

    There is a consensus within the counseling profession that testing is within the scope of practice of professional counselors.

    The primary counselor education accrediting body is the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).  CACREP’s 2016 education standards refer to the expectation that all accredited counseling degree programs teach counselors to administer and interpret tests:

    Section 2: Professional Counseling Identity

    Subsection: Counseling Curriculum

    The eight common core areas represent the foundational knowledge required of all entry-level counselor education graduates. Therefore, counselor education programs must document where each of the lettered standards listed below is covered in the curriculum.

    7. ASSESSMENT AND TESTING

    a)       historical perspectives concerning the nature and meaning of assessment and testing in counseling
    b)       methods of effectively preparing for and conducting initial assessment meetings
    c)       procedures for assessing risk of aggression or danger to others, self-inflicted harm, or suicide
    d)       procedures for identifying trauma and abuse and for reporting abuse
    e)       use of assessments for diagnostic and intervention planning purposes
    f)        basic concepts of standardized and non-standardized testing, norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessments, and group and individual assessments
    g)       statistical concepts, including scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, indices of variability, shapes and types of distributions, and correlations
    h)       reliability and validity in the use of assessments
    i)         use of assessments relevant to academic/educational, career, personal, and social development
    j)         use of environmental assessments and systematic behavioral observations
    k)       use of symptom checklists, and personality and psychological testing
    l)         use of assessment results to diagnose developmental, behavioral, and mental disorders
    m)   ethical and culturally relevant strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and test results

    The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is the first and largest certifying body in the United States for professional counselors.  The credential NBCC has established for clinical mental health counselors is Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC).  In order for this credential to be awarded to a counselor, the counselor must have been educated on the administration of psychological tests .  In addition, counselors must pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), which includes test items on the administration of psychological tests for purposes of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning .

    The American Counseling Association (ACA) is the largest association representing counselors in the United States.  The ACA identifies “the administration of assessments, tests, and appraisals” as a primary component of the scope of professional counseling.   The ACA’s most recent Code of Ethics refers repeatedly to the ability of counselors to administer and interpret tests, provided that counselors are appropriately trained in the tests they utilize.

    The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) is a division of the ACA that exclusively represents clinical mental health counselors.  AMHCA’s published standards for clinical mental health counseling clarify that mental health counselors are expected to be trained in clinical assessment and testing.   Like the ACA, AMHCA’s 2015 Code of Ethics refers to the ability of counselors to administer and interpret psychological tests provided that counselors are appropriately trained.

    From 2005 to 2013, the 31 major counseling associations, organizations, and certifying bodies met to arrive at a consensus for the definition and scope of practice for professional counseling.  The scope of practice they adopted includes “Assessment: The practice of counseling includes the administration and interpretation of assessments for appraisal, diagnosis, evaluation, and referral determination to help establish individualized counseling plans and goals that may include the treatment of individual with emotional, mental, and physical disorders.”

    FACT: COUNSELORS MEET THE STANDARDS OF TEST MANUFACTURERS

    Licensed counselors meet the criteria for the highest qualification levels of the three most popular psychological test distributors in the United States.

    Level C is the highest qualification level established by Psychological Assessment Resources (PAR).  This level of qualification requires “an advanced professional degree that provides appropriate training in the administration and interpretation of psychological tests, or license or certification from an agency that requires appropriate training and experience in the ethical and competent use of psychological tests.”   Because licensed counselors must have a minimum of a Master’s degree, which is an advanced professional degree, and because CACREP- and CACREP-equivalent counselor education programs require training in the administration and interpretation of psychological tests, licensed counselors meet PAR’s criteria for qualification level C and are commonly certified as such by PAR.

    Similar to PAR, Pearson Clinical drafted a Level C qualification policy for tests administered in the category of clinical psychology requiring that evaluators earn a “doctorate degree in psychology, education, or closely related field with formal training in the ethical administration, scoring, and interpretation of clinical assessments related to the intended use of the assessment OR licensure or certification to practice in your state in a field related to the purchase OR certification by or full active membership in a professional organization (such as APA, NASP, NAN, INS) that requires training and experience in the relevant area of assessment.”   At first glance, readers may deduce that Pearson Clinical requires test administrators to earn a doctoral degree.  However, Pearson emphasizes the word “or” repeatedly in their policy through bold print and/or capitalized letters to denote that an evaluator need only meet one of the listed criteria.   Because licensed mental health counselors are licensed, and in some cases certified, to practice mental health counseling in their respective states, the second criterion should be met by all licensed mental health counselors.  In addition, some counselors will meet the first and third criteria depending on education level and association membership.

    Western Psychological Services (WPS) provides two advanced qualification levels.  Level C permits an evaluator to purchase “all products except advanced psychiatric instruments and advanced neuropsychological instruments” and requires evaluators to have “a master’s degree (MA, MS, MSW, CAGS) in psychology, school counseling, occupational therapy, speech–language pathology, social work, education, special education, or related field.”   Again, licensed mental health counselors meet this criterion because they hold master’s degrees in a related occupation.  Level N is the highest level designated by WPS, allowing purchase of all tests.  This level requires “a doctoral degree (PhD, PsyD, MD) in psychology or related field or MA (psychologist, social worker) a master’s degree (MA, MS, MSW) in fields listed above and at least a weekend workshop on neuropsychological assessment.”  Many but not all licensed mental health counselors will meet these guidelines.  Specifically, counselors who hold a doctoral degree in a related field meet the criteria, as well as master’s-level counselors who have completed at least a couple days of additional training in neuropsychological evaluation.

    PREVENTING COUNSELORS FROM ADMINISTERING AND INTERPRETING PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS WOULD BE IMPRACTICAL AND UNETHICAL.

    The demand for evidence-based practices and treatment approaches continues to rise in the United States.  Third party payers and authorities in the behavioral healthcare sector continue to appply pressure to providers to offer evidence substantiating diagnoses and treatment methods, as well as efforts to measure response to behavioral health interventions.  Increasingly, testing provides an integral source of data to comply with these standards of care.  Testing aids counselors in formulating a diagnosis, planning treatment, and measuring client progress.   

    According to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, counselors comprise the largest percentage of the U.S. behavioral healthcare workforce in the National Provider Identifier database, which all healthcare providers are required to register with in order to accept insurance.

    To deny the largest sector of the U.S. behavioral healthcare workforce the opportunity to administer and interpret psychological tests is illogical.  It implies that licensed mental health counselors are qualified to treat mental disorders but not to diagnose them nor evaluate the efficacy of their treatment approaches.  This practice is akin to expecting a physician to diagnose and treat hypertension without allowing the physician to measure a patient’s blood pressure. 


    Counselors cannot be expected to treat what they cannot objectively diagnose or measure.  Ultimately, such a practice would negatively impact client care.  Thus, NBFE views any efforts to restrict the rights of counselors from administering and interpreting psychological tests as potentially harmful to clients and therefore unethical.

    A CALL TO ACTION FOR FAIR TESTING PRACTICES

    The National Board of Forensic Evaluators calls on state legislatures, licensing boards, and authorities in all disciplines of the mental health profession to advocate for laws, rules, and policies that protect the rights of all appropriately-trained licensed mental health professionals to administer and interpret psychological tests.  We also encourage licensed mental health counselors to seek ongoing training in this area that exceeds the that which they received in graduate school.  Counselors should abide by ethical guidelines that require that they be appropriately trained on any test they administer.

    ABOUT THE NATIONAL BOARD OF FORENSIC EVALUATORS

    The National Board of Forensic Evaluators (NBFE) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing quality training and certification of all licensed mental health professionals (e.g., counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists) in the specialty area of forensic mental health evaluation.  NBFE is a proud partner of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and several other state, local, and international organizations in the mental health field.  To learn more about NBFE, visit www.nbfe.net.

    Position paper authored by Aaron Norton, Executive Director of NBFE, edited by Dr. Norman Hoffman, President and Founder of NBFE, and approved by the NBFE Board of Directors 8/15/16.

    Foster, S.J. (2000, February 4). Letter to Judge Roger McDonald

    National Fair Access Coalition on Testing (n.d.). The National Fair Access Coalition on Testing Mission. Retrieved from http://www.fairaccess.org/home.html.

    Newsome, D.W. & Gladding, S.T. (2014). Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Community and Agency Settings (4th ed.). Boston: Merrill.

    CACREP (2016). 2016 CACREP Standards. Retrieved from http://www.cacrep.org/section-3-professional-practice/.

    NBCC (2016). Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Retrieved from http://www.nbcc.org/Certification/CertifiedClinicalMentalHealthCounselor/.

    NBCC (2016). Content covered in the NCMHCE. Retrieved from http://www.nbcc.org/InnerPageLinks/ContentCoveredInTheNCMHCE.

    ACA (2016). Endorsed scope of practice for professional counseling. Retrieved from https://www.counseling.org/about-us/about-aca/aca-media-center.

    ACA (2014). 2014 ACA Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4.

    AMHCA (2016). AMHCA Standards for the Practice of Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Alexandria, VA: AMHCA.

    AMHCA (2015). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.amhca.org/?page=codeofethicsia.

    20/20 Task Force (2013). Meeting notes from Delegates meeting. 

    PAR (2012). Qualification levels. Retrieved from http://www4.parinc.com/Supp/Qualifications.aspx.

    Pearson (2016). Clinical Psychology Qualifications Policy. Retrieved from http://www.pearsonclinical.com/psychology/qualifications.html.

    WPS (n.d.). Qualification Guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.wpspublish.com/store/Qualification_Guidelines%20V3.pdf

    American Psychological Association (2014, September). What percentage of the nation’s behavioral health providers are psychologists?  Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/09/datapoint.aspx


  • 22 Jul 2016 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    New Credential to Open (Courtroom) Doors for Counselors

    BY LAURIE L. HAYES

    FOR COUNSELING TODAY

    SEPTEMBER 2004

    ACA, NBFE partnership creates opportunities for counselors to provide forensic evaluation, testimony

    Psychological forensic evaluations have long fallen under the domain of psychiatrists and psychologists, and credentialing bodies have catered to these professionals in providing the necessary training and certification. As a result, more than 200,000 licensed mental health professionals (excluding psychiatrists/psychologists) in the United States have been virtually shut out of this interesting and potentially quite profitable niche of the mental health field.

    Recognizing this, the American Counseling Association and the National Board of Forensic Evaluators have formed a partnership to provide a credible and professionally recognized forensic training/certification process for licensed counselors and other mental health professionals.

    "NBFE was officially established in 2003 and originated from a specialty certification training program developed by licensed mental health professionals, physicians and practicing family attorneys," said Norman Hoffman, a licensed marriage and family therapist, mental health counselor, certified assessor for the Florida State Department of Children and Families, and president of NBFE's advisory board.

    Other board members include licensed marriage and family therapists, attorneys, licensed mental health counselors, licensed social workers, licensed psychologists, certified assessors by the Department of Children and Families, clergy, physicians and certified hypnotherapists.

    NBFE purpose, Hoffman said, is to enhance skills of licensed mental health professionals who, traditionally, have not been recognized in the forensic arena by the public or private sector.

    "This really is going to be a growing field for counselors," he said. "Especially because, more and more, the mental health field is diminishing as HMOs require more work for less money by practitioners."

    Mental health professionals in the forensic arena don't deal with insurance companies, Hoffman said, noting that the field can be "quite lucrative." What's more, since he entered the forensic arena, he has seen the scope of his practice expand exponentially and finds his work more fulfilling - so much so that he now devotes 90 percent of his time to forensic work.

    "The legal community will also be delighted by the addition of counselors to the pool of potential forensic evaluators," Hoffman said. "Lawyers are looking desperately for people who can offer expert psychological testimony."

    Until now, that pool has been relatively limited. Hoffman noted that the American Board of Forensic Psychology, established in 1978, restricts its membership candidates to those with doctoral degrees in

    psychology accredited by the American Psychological Association, Canadian Psychological Association or other programs meeting designated criteria specific to psychologists.

    Similarly, he said, in order to become a forensic psychiatrist, one must first become a board certified psychiatrist, graduate from medical school, perform a year-long internship and meet other closely related regulations that are governed by criteria specific to psychiatry.

    Before the establishment of NBFE, according to Hoffman, the only way for counseling professionals to obtain forensic credentials was through suspect organizations "that basically would credential anybody."

    As a testament to the rigors of NBFE's credentialing process, ACA recently went public with its endorsement of the program and has formed a partnership with the group. One of the benefits of this arrangement is that ACA members will receive a reduced rate on the cost of the training/certification process.

    ACA members are eligible for a 40 percent discount when applying for NBFE credentials as a Forensic Psychological Evaluator. This represents a savings of $320 off the cost of the application and written and oral exams. In addition, for those members who become NBFE credentialed as a Forensic Psychological Evaluator, ACA will grant 15 CEUs (15 contact hours) toward license and/or certification renewal.

    "We are really excited about this partnership," said David Kaplan, associate executive director for professional affairs at ACA. "It opens up a whole new niche for professional counselors."

    "Testifying in court as an expert witness has, until now, been the realm of the psychologist and psychiatrist," Kaplan continued. "But with the excellent training opportunities and credentialing process offered by NBFE, counselors will also be able to provide this service."

    "We view this as one more valuable service we can offer our membership," Kaplan added "ACA members can become certified to offer this new type of service while saving nearly three times the cost of their annual membership."

    "The partnership with NBFE gives ACA members one more opportunity to specialize and pursue an alternative interest," said Samuel Gladding, ACA president. "And in this current climate of legal proceedings many of which surround issues related to counseling, "this specialized' training will enhance both the skills and reputation of counseling professionals."

    According to Hoffman, in order to attain NBFE board certification as a Forensic Psychological Evaluator, ACA members and other applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements: a completed application and processing fee; a minimum of a state license/certification to practice mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling, social work, or a related license or certificate approved by the state's licensing board to practice psychotherapy; and a minimum of three years of post-licensed/certified experience.

    Applicants must also have completed a minimum of 40 hours of substantiated documentation in classes, workshops, seminars, supervision, published professional works, etc., focusing on forensic psychological assessment, sexual offenders, domestic violence, expert witness, ethical issues, fan1ily law, introduction to essentials of forensic assessment, child custody evaluations, assessment in personal injury, malingering, competency to stand trial, civil comn1itment, juvenile justice and substance abuse.

    Hoffman noted that experience in providing expert testimony, depositions, divorce and fan1ily mediation, competency evaluations will be considered, if there is a verifiable case number and court reference accompanying the application.

    In addition, those seeking certification must have three professional references who can validate the their ethical and moral standards as well as pertinent clinical skills and abilities.

    Upon meeting these qualifications, a written examination will be required to assess the depth and breadth of the candidate's forensic knowledge.

    Upon candidacy eligibility and payment of examination fees, a comprehensive study guide will be provided by NBFE. A practice sample review and oral examination will complete the certification process.

    In addition to establishing the partnership with NBFE that qualifies ACA members for the discount, Hoffman noted that ACA has recognized and approved NBFE's workshops and home studies for its members.

    NBFE is part of the Counseling and Psychotherapy Center (CPC), which is approved by the Board of Clinical Social Work Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling as a provider of continuing education. As such, Hoffman said, "We maintain the highest level of expertise and professionalism."

    The senior clinicians at CPC researched and developed all program materials, according to Hoffman. He noted that CPC ensures the integrity of the programs and considered the level of the needs of the target audience in developing appropriate educational goals and learning objectives. The courses of study meet the high-quality standards required for continuing education for clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists and professional counselors.

    CPC clinicians have provided face-to-face seminars and workshops for years, Hoffman said, but they are now focused on bringing the training to the practitioners. "While CPC will maintain the faculty and resources necessary to assist its students in developing and enhancing their capabilities, skills and effectiveness in their chosen professions, we have also made it possible, through homestudy, to serve the continuing educational needs of the licensed working professionals," he said. In addition, Kaplan noted that arrangements are underway for NBFE to offer a two-day workshop prior to the ACA convention in Atlanta this coming April. ACA members who participate will be awarded 15 contact hours. A written exam will be offered on the second day.

    Hoffman admits that the field of forensics is not for everyone. He anticipates that between 5 and 10 percent of counseling professionals might have an interest in going to court. "It takes a real 'Type A; personality," he said. "You've got to have an interest in how the legal system meshes with the mental health profession and enough control of your ego that you are not so tied to one way of looking at things."

    "Good verbal skills are also essential," Hoffman added. "You're performing (for) a whole new audience, and you must be able to articulate clear thoughts without resorting to a lot of psychobabble."

    Another big difference between forensic and more traditional mental health practice is the limited scope of the evaluations. "There is a limit on the involvement with the individual," Hoffman said.

    "For the purposes of the court, you are there to extract as much psychological information as possible. So while you use the same counseling skills (that you have always used) to make that connection, once you have gathered enough information to make an evaluation, your involvement is over."

    Because of this, Hoffman said, it's much less draining on the counselor particularly those who have been prone to what he terms "compassion fatigue."

    "Counselors, especially those in private practice, are always looking for new ways to market their services as well as to round out their practices," Kaplan said. For those who meet the criteria, he said, forensic work could be just the ticket for achieving this.

    "Forensics is still very new to most. ACA members," noted Gladding. "But this partnership may create an interest. It really opens up a door for the counseling profession."

    Counselors who are interested in learning more about becoming a forensic evaluator can go the NBFE website at www.nbfe.net or contact Hoffman via e-mail at nbfe@nbfe.net.


  • 22 Jul 2016 12:57 PM | Anonymous

    Shake-Up Inside Forensic Credentialing Org

    The nation’s largest forensic expert college will sell its forensic accounting division, following a series of investigations by ProPublica and Frontline.

    by Leah Bartos, Special to ProPublica April 11, 2014, 12:22 p.m. 

    There's been a major shake-up in one of the largest organizations that certifies forensic experts.

    The group, the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute (ACFEI), quietly put up for sale its forensic accounting division — one of its most prominent programs — prompting the unanimous resignation of that division's entire advisory board. The volunteer accounting board oversaw ACFEI's certification program for experts in financial investigations.

    The upheaval at ACFEI comes in the wake of a series of reports that have raised questions about the credibility of the organization's certification programs, notably the FRONTLINE/ProPublica joint investigation, The Real CSI, which examined the organization's rigor in certifying forensic experts.

    Three of the board members who resigned say their efforts to bolster their division's credibility were being stymied.

    "I don't think we were getting the support that we needed to carry out our duties. And from an ethical standpoint, the right thing to do is leave your position when you can't do what you're basically hired to do," said Michael Kessler, a past chair of the accounting board and member of ACFEI since 1994. Kessler and two other board members said they were never consulted about the sale and were left with no other choice but to resign in protest.

    In a statement, ACFEI said it planned to spin off the forensic accounting program for reasons "related to organizational efficiency" and pledged to only sell it to a buyer that would maintain rigorous credentialing standards.

    "The company can only develop excellence in so many directions at the same timeand is transferring ownership of the credential to accounting professionals to further strengthen it," the statement said.

    ACFEI offers certification courses in various other aspects of forensics, including nursing, social work and criminal investigation, and the group has also established related associations offering coursework in other disciplines, including psychotherapy and integrative medicine. One of the associations, the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security, has garnered support from the U.S. Navy in recent years, which has paid more than $12 million for more than 10,000 sailors to obtain certifications from the ACFEI-affiliate since 2008.

    It appears that troubles between ACFEI and the accounting division had been building for some time.

    Last year, board members say they were surprised to learn that ACFEI had lost the rights to use a longstanding aspect of its brand, the acronym "Cr.FA" — which signifies Certified Forensic Accountant — as the result of a trademark lawsuit.

    According to documents filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, ACFEI had failed to actively defend its ownership of the title, and essentially let it slip away.

    After discovering the loss of the trademark six months after the fact, board members rushed to advise hundreds of forensic accountants around the country to remove the acronym from resumes and business cards. ACFEI did not respond to FRONTLINE's repeated requests for comment on the trademark litigation.

    As FRONTLINE and ProPublica reported in The Real CSI, there are no national standards for forensic experts. Credentials such as the ones offered by ACFEI are voluntary, but they are often relied upon as a shortcut to assess the credibility of an expert witness at trial.

    "It's up to the judge whether a witness is qualified as an expert — which is true —but when you take a look at the dockets, they're jammed," said Suzanne Hillman, a CPA who often testifies in financial fraud cases in the Washington, D.C. area. "You see certification, it gives you a little bit of a feeling of comfort."

    Hillman said she sought ACFEI's Certified Forensic Accountant credential because, "I knew I had a wealth of experience and was seeking to add the credential that would, in essence, summarize that quickly." Hillman also joined ACFEI's forensic accounting board, but resigned at the end of 2013, similarly disillusioned with the organization.

    Hillman has since removed Certified Forensic Accountant from her title.

    She believes the lack of regulation on certifying experts damages the entire justice system. "To the judges, jurors and lawyers, I don't think the message has totally gotten out to them that there's problems with some of these credentials," Hillman said.

    Jeannette Koger, vice president of member specialization and credentialing for the American Institute of CPAs said the lax standards also make it harder for people to know the quality of the experts they are hiring, often at a high price.

    "This causes confusion in the marketplace and can potentially cause consumers great harm," Koger said in an email. "If they receive unqualified or poorly qualified representation their expert can be challenged in the courtroom, resulting in an adverse judgment."


  • 22 Jul 2016 12:52 PM | Anonymous

    January 09, 2007

    Forensic Examiner in Corey Maye Trial Wasn't Board Certified

    From Hit and Run:

    Hayne testified at Maye’s trial that he is “board certified” in forensic pathology, but he isn’t certified by the American Board of Pathology, the only organization recognized by the National Association of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Medical Specialties as capable of certifying forensic pathologists. According to depositions from other cases, Hayne failed the American Board of Pathology exams when he left halfway through, deeming the questions “absurd.” Instead, his C.V. indicates that he’s certified by two organizations, one of which (the American Board of Forensic Pathology) isn’t recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The other (the American Academy of Forensic Examiners) doesn’t seem to exist. Judging from his testimony in other depositions, its likely Hayne meant to list the American College of Forensic Examiners. According to Hayne, the group certified him through the mail based on “life experience,” with no examination at all. Several forensics experts described the American College of Forensic Examiners to me as a “pay your money, get your certification” organization. A February 2000 article in the American Bar Association Journal makes similar allegations, with one psychologist who was certified through the group saying, "Everything was negotiable—for a fee.”

    Reason has a summary of Maye's case. Police mistakenly knocked down Maye's door in a bungled search for a drug dealer who lived in am adjacent part of the duplex. Maye, not realizing it was police knocking down his door, shot and killed one of the officers. He was subsequently convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death, though his latest appeal removed him from death row.

    It was a police foul up that put them in Maye's house that night, and as people have noted, if officers had accidentally killed Maye it's unlikely any of them would have gone to prison, much less death row. Wikipedia has more.


<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
Copyright © 2017
National Board of Forensic Evaluators, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
595 W Granada Blvd., Suite H
Ormond Beach, FL 32174
Phone: 1 386 677 3995
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software