OLYMPIA…Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, was recognized this week for, “outstanding service to families in the state of Washington” when he received the first-ever ‘Family Advocacy Award’ from the Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (WAMFT).

The award honors Sen. O’Ban for his work to increase the behavioral health workforce in Washington by establishing a reciprocity program so those with licenses and certifications valid in other states can more easily gain the same licenses and certifications here. Senate Bill 5054, a bipartisan bill that passed unanimously in the Senate, requires the Department of Health to establish the program. It will apply to psychologists, chemical dependency professionals, mental-health counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists.

“Every policy area I focus on – public safety, education, health-care – directly impacts family wellness. But it’s in Washington’s mental-health care system where I see tremendous need for reform,” said O’Ban.

“We have a desperate need for more providers that can only be met if we establish additional pathways for them to become licensed in Washington. Growing the mental-health care workforce will directly translate into greater access for families coping with behavioral health challenges.”

The Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (WAMFT) is an active Independent Affiliate of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Through successful engagement of its more than 1000 members, WAMFT offers cutting edge educational events and networking opportunities, protects and advances the profession of marriage and family therapy through strong advocacy efforts within Washington state, and prioritizes it's students and emerging professionals with training, scholarship, and mentoring opportunities.” Their mission is to, “network, educate, and advocate for the enrichment of our members, the advancement of our profession, and the health of our communities.”

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