LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Facing issues over the accreditation of one of its programs, the University of Louisville is suing a state licensing board.
UofL is suing Kentucky's Board of Licensed Professional Counselors over accreditation requirements for licensing of graduates from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.
The case is playing out after the program's accreditation through the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) expired in May.
To issue a license, the state LPC board requires a counselor graduate from a program accredited by CACREP. UofL's accreditation was extended in January of 2022 until May, but expired on May 14.
In the suit, UofL is asking for "declaratory and injunctive relief" against the Board's policy that licensees have a degree from a CACREP accredited institution.
The suit says state law requires licensees graduate from regionally accredited institutions, which UofL is through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Read the university's full lawsuit:
The university asserts the Board is overstepping by adding an additional program-specific requirement.
UofL said in the suit it filed paperwork to begin the re-accreditation process May 13, the day before accreditation was set to expire after a January extension.
In a letter to students, university leaders wrote in part: "As previously reported, the University’s CACREP accreditation expired on May 14, 2022. The University filed its self-study, triggering the start of the reapplication process for accreditation prior to the expiration. It was the University’s understanding that the program’s accreditation status would not be interrupted or altered during the pendency of the reapplication process, so long as it applied prior to the expiration. The University recently learned that both CACREP and the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (KBLPC) have taken the position that the program is not currently accredited and will not be accredited until the reapplication process is successfully completed, which is anticipated in January 2024."
According to the lawsuit, the Board wanted to rescind several August graduates' licenses, which were originally issued, until the university's application for reaccreditation is approved.
The suit said that harms students, and the Commonwealth, which faces a critical shortage of mental health professionals.
In a statement, UofL spokesperson John Karman wrote:
"To allow our graduates to continue providing vital care and treatment for some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens, UofL filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court. Last week, the court issued a restraining order preventing the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors from enforcing the regulation the requires Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation. We will continue working to ensure that our graduates are able to provide these necessary services."
WHAS11 reached out to the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. We have not heard back.
A court hearing on the suit is scheduled for December 5 in Franklin County.
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