By Jocelyn Thompson
The California Association for Behavior Analysis remains committed to actively serving our membership, community stakeholders, and consumers of ABA. As the largest state association representing over 2,000 certificants, CalABA continues to lead and support its members with ongoing education, various committees and special interest groups, and an active and diverse board of directors.
CalABA returned to an in-person conference for 2022 with over 1,400 attendees. Post live conference, CALABA will host several virtual events. This includes our student paper awards, various CEU events and town hall meetings for ongoing discussion about advancing the field of ABA.
In summer 2021, the CalABA membership elected our first Equity, Diversity and Inclusion chair. Over the last six months, the new committee has worked collaboratively with other state associations on DEI initiatives. In addition, the committee developed a survey to solicit feedback and the results of the survey will help the committee and board to identify DEI goals, and initiatives for the coming year.
In the fall of 2021, CalABA formed an ad hoc committee consisting of board members and general members to address the anti-ABA sentiments appearing in the news, social media and other public outlets. This area of work is multifaceted and includes support for the neurodiversity movement as well as how to address criticism for ABA in the treatment of ASD. A new survey was designed to gather information from all CalABA members to better represent the views and values of our entire constituency. We will soon release a statement to be posted on our website and social media outlets and will use the survey results to inform us of our next steps, which may include town halls and live events to focus on continued education and discussion around this issue.
CalABA has continued to be actively involved in public policy matters related to the practice of ABA in CA. Over the last year, the public policy committee followed legislation that impacted behavior analysis in California and worked to support legislation that aligns with behavior analytic values. In addition, the public policy committee addressed inaccuracies in regulation or public statements about behavior analysis including the statement published by the National Council on Independent Living. Other notable public policy matters that CalABA addressed in 2021 include:
- Advocated for inclusion of the practice guidelines governing Applied Behavior Analysis maintained by the Council of Autism Service Providers in regulation for SB 855.
- Working to protect high quality behavior analytic services through opposing legislation such as SB 562 which would reduce qualifications of ABA providers.
- Provided response to All Plan Letters released by the CA Department of Health Care Services which provides guidance to Medi-Cal managed health care plans related to behavioral health treatment.
- Participated in workgroups and committees such as the BHCOE Standards Committee, Medi-Cal for Students, and CA’s DS Task Force Safety Net Workgroup to share accurate information regarding behavior analysis and increase behavior analysts’ role and input in critical conversations.
- Working for inclusion in the CA Child & Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI) $4.4 Billion CA is investing in Behavioral Health services for children over the next 5 years.
Licensure continues to be a priority for CalABA. We are in the process of forming a licensure committee and hope to have a bill presented before the CA State Legislator in late 2022/early 2023. CalABA continues to meet with lobbyists and stakeholders to increase communication and collaboration around licensure for behavior analysts in CA.