Maryland Legislative Timeline

Maryland Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) have been actively promoting the profession and protecting the public since the early 1980’s. The following specific goals have been achieved:

1994 – Certification created the title, Certified Professional Counselor – Marriage and Family Therapist (CPC- MFT)

1997 – Licensure protected practice and bestowed a new title, Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist (LCMFT)

2000 – Changed the name of the composite board under which we are housed to the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists

2001 – Legislation attempted to create the title, Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist (LGMFT). This title would have given parity to the postgraduate MFT who was completing the experiential and supervision requirements for licensure. This legislation passed both the House and the Senate but was vetoed by Governor Glendening.

2001 – Maryland counties are authorized to discount marriage licensing fees if a couple participates in premarital counseling. MFTs are among the approved providers of premarital counseling in this law.

2002 – Governor Glendening signs legislation establishing the Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist (LGMFT) designation.

2003 – The Maryland State Legislature passed House Bill 259 granting reciprocity to licensed MFTs from other states provided they meet Maryland licensure requirements. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on April 22, 2003.

These successes have been achieved through the very active efforts of the Middle Atlantic Division of AAMFT’s legislative chairs and their ad hoc committees, numerous Maryland legislators, and the diligence of our lobbyists.

Legislative Timeline for the District of Columbia

2002 – Middle Atlantic Division members begin process to create MFT licensing process in DC: obtained National AAMFT grant, hired local lobbying, drafted model legislation, and obtained critical support from DC Councilwoman Sandy Allen to sponsor the bill.

Early 2003 – Bill was introduced on March 4, 2003. Two hearings were held before DC City Council; Middle Atlantic Division overcame objections from DC Dept of Health who opposed having to support another professional board.

Late 2003 – Bill passed and signed by Mayor November 25, 2003.  The law requires persons practicing marriage and family therapy to be licensed pursuant to specific qualifications, and establishes the DC Board of Marriage and Family Therapy. Two year transition period (ending March 2006) allows therapist who meet the requirements for licensures to hold themselves out as licensed.

Early 2004 – Congressional review period completed, law effective March 10, 2004. Middle Atlantic Division hosted celebration of bill’s passage with Mayor Tony Williams, DC Council members and staff.

Late 2004 – Appropriations needed to implement bill effective October 10, 2004. Mayor’s office recommended four nominees, accepted by DC City Council under passive approval process.

Early 2005 – First DC Board of Marriage and Family Therapy sworn in Jan. 2005.  February 2005 fifth board member, consumer representative nominated for open board seat.  Meeting held first Friday monthly, changed to quarterly. Board began drafting of regulations to implement law.

Late 2005 – Board publishes draft regulations in DC Register for comment Oct. 2005.  Middle Atlantic Division filed comments (1) urging maximum conformity to Maryland’s rules to build the case for reciprocity of licensing and (2) seeking grandfathering provisions for experienced therapists who might not meet educational and testing requirements.

2006 – In March, 2006, Board began issuing licenses for applicants who meet the education and experience criteria (1500 face-to-face client and 300 hours of supervision).  The 2-year transition period ends, anyone advertising themselves as MFTsin DC must have a license or face penalties. Board drafted grandfathering provisions waiving the education and testing requirement for applicants who meet specific criteria.

2007 – Grandfathering language currently pending in the DC Office of the General Counsel, expected to be published for public comment March 2007.