Latino Addiction Counselor Education (LACE) Program
With funds from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health – Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (MDPH-BSAS), the Latino Addiction Counselor Education (LACE) Program has been designed to address the disparities in the behavioral health workforce. To this end, LACE has trained hundreds of Latino/x and Hispanic individuals in the area of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment, while creating access to clinical credentials: Licensure (LADC) and Certification (CADC).
Moreover, by providing technical assistance, capacity building, and support to MDPH-BSAS funded organizations and other community-based service providers, the program has increased the publicly funded treatment system’s capacity to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to the Latino/x population, thereby addressing health disparities and building equity in the Commonwealth. The in-classroom training component of the program is delivered each year at two sites (Boston and Springfield). Due to the impact of COVID-19 this year’s trainings are being delivered virtually.
The main goals of LACE are to address disparities and build equity for the Latino/x and Hispanic community of Massachusetts as it relates to Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health challenges. More specifically, we seek to increase the number of Latino/x and Hispanic individuals with addiction treatment credentials; to increase the Latino/x and Hispanic community’s access to culturally and linguistically competent care; and to increase the capacity of the publicly funded system to serve Latinos/as/x, while improving treatment outcomes.
The classes are co-facilitated in Spanish and English by master’s level and addiction credentialed Latina and Latino professionals with many years of clinical experience and training planning and delivery. The in-classroom training is delivered utilizing the theoretical frameworks of Social Justice, Latino Critical Race Theory, and Culturally Responsible Pedagogies.
The Training Curriculum has been developed to meet the requirements set forth by the MDPH-BSAS for Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselors (LADC I, II, and III) and the Massachusetts Board for Voluntary Certification towards becoming a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) at the reciprocal level. To this end, participants can receive up to a total of three-hundred (300) hours of participatory classroom instruction, which is divided in the following manner: Ten (10) hours of Ethics and Boundaries; One-hundred-twenty (120) hours of Alcohol/Drug Specific Studies; One-hundred-twenty (120) hours of Counseling Techniques; and fifty (50) hours in the Behavioral Sciences.
NOTE: Due to COVID-19 this year the classes are being delivered virtually via Zoom. For the Metro Boston cohort the classes are taking place on Monday’s and Wednesday’s from 6-8 PM and the Western Massachusetts cohort is meeting on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 6-8 PM. The two cohorts also meet on the first Saturday of each month form 9 AM to 5 PM.
The entire in-classroom training component is approximately 47 weeks (10 months) long. The classes are divided in two parts: The first part of classroom’s focus is on understanding SUDs and other co-occurring issues, clinical practice and counseling techniques, and the second part focus is on discussion of readings and questions arising in the practice of delivering services and the internships.
PROGRAM APPLICATION and CONTACT:
People who identify as Latino/x or Hispanic and are interested in applying for to the program should complete the application and return it with two (2) professional letters of recommendation to the Program Director, Haner Hernandez, Ph.D., CPS, CADCII, LADCI at email@example.com or you may contact him at 413-627-1601.
Research has proven that individuals who participate in Study Circles fair better in test results and improve academic performance. LACE staff and training consultants encourage participants to take part in Study Circles in the Metro Boston and Western Regions to help prepare for the test. In order to support study circle participants, LACE staff provide Study Circle space, materials, and other support as needed. The goal is to have the Study Circles meeting, with 5 to 7 participants in each, for at least three (3) months prior to taking the exam.
In addition to the in-classroom experience, LACE requires that participants that are not currently working in the field of SUDs do an internship for a minimum of 4.5 hours per week at an MDPH-BSAS funded agency that provides SUD treatment services to the Latino/x or Hispanic community. The internship site will expose intern(s) to at least one Latino/a/x client for individual or group counseling for the duration of the internship. Furthermore, agencies with interns are responsible for providing clinical supervision at least once a week to the intern(s) for the duration of the internship. The purpose of this requirement is to help participants to integrate classroom knowledge with hands-on experience. The internship hours can also be used towards the practical work experience requirement for Licensure and Certification in Massachusetts.
AGENCY TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE, CAPACITY BUILDING, AND SUPPORT COMPONENT:
The technical assistance, capacity building, and support component of the program exists to improve access, delivery, and treatment outcomes for Latinos/as/x seeking addiction treatment in Massachusetts. Technical Assistance is provided in the areas of program planning, implementation, and evaluation as well as consultation related to specific cases. LACE staff and training consultants provide technical assistance, support, training, and consultation to MDPH-BSAS funded agencies as needed. Also, LACE provides MDPH-BSAS-funded agencies with ongoing information about training’s offered by AdCare and other training organizations. The technical assistance also covers issues related to ongoing service delivery to Latino/a/x service recipients in both Latino/x and non-Latino/x service settings.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COMPONENT:
LACE staff function as “job developers” and “job placement” assistants to training participants, interns, and program graduates. LACE staff advise training participants, interns, and graduates on how to access and utilize the MDPH-BSAS funded system and the LACE Program network for placement into jobs that seek to hire graduates into “permanent” job positions (no less than six months duration). Also, LACE staff distribute and post job opportunities from MDPH-BSAS funded agencies to training participants.