Coping.us
Helping you become all that you are capable of becoming!

 


 
Loading

Guidelines for Local Chapter/Network Formation within

Florida Mental Health Counselors Association (FMHCA)


The FMHCA Local Chapter/Network Procedural Online Manual

FORMATION OF A FMHCA LOCAL CHAPTER


Do your homework

Before organizing a local chapter it is important to first familiarize yourself with the bylaws of FMHCA as they pertain to local chapters and be prepared to following their guidelines for establishing a local chapter:


ARTICLE III: LOCAL CHAPTERS

Section 1. Organization of Local Chapters

The Association encourages the development of local Chapters to promote local interest and participation in the profession. New chapters may be accepted by the Board of Directors upon meeting the following criteria:

  • The group must consist of at least 12 members.
  • There may be no more than one FMHCA local Chapter in any given geographical area.
  • The Local Chapter will organize in accordance with the Bylaws of FMHCA and develop their own Chapter bylaws to reflect local operations and structure. They will assure that their chapter is in compliance with applicable FMHCA Bylaws concerning local chapters.
  • All officers of the Local Chapter will be members in good standing of FMHCA.
  • Charter status is awarded to the Local Chapter by the FMHCA Board of Directors.
  • The Local Chapter will be free to conduct its affairs at the local level in compliance with the Bylaws of the Association, and
  • Local chapters must present Chapter Bylaws to the FMHCA Board of Directors for approval to become an official Chapter of FMHCA.

Section 2. Reports

Each local Chapter will submit a written report annually by September 1 to the Secretary of the FMHCA Board to include 1) a summary of Chapter activities during the past year 2) a current roster of its officers and 3) a list of members.

Section 3. Charter Renewal Standards

Standards for charter renewal reflect the sound organization and development necessary for a Local Chapter of FMHCA. The Secretary of the FMHCA Board will make recommendations annually to the FMHCA Board of Directors concerning charter renewal for each Local Chapter. Standards and Procedures for Charter Renewal will be established by policy in accordance with the Bylaws.

Section 4. Involuntary Revocation of Chapter

The Board of Directors will have the power to revoke the charter of a Local Chapter when it is deemed in the best interests of the Association to do so.

Procedures for revoking the charter of a local chapter will be established by policy.

Section 5. Interest Sections of "Special Interest Groups" ("SIGs")

"Special interest Groups" (SIGs) may be organized on a statewide or local basis to promote professional interests not otherwise included in the organizational structure of FMHCA. A group of FMHCA members interested in establishing an interest section may petition the FMHCA Board of Directors for SIG status. The Board of Directors will adopt policies and procedures relative to formation, governance and funding of SIGs.


You also need to familiarize yourself with Policies and Procedures of FMHCA to establish Local Chapters  and all of the resource materials in there to help you accomplish forming and keeping chapter active and functioning in the FMHCA system.

 

Know the steps to establish a local FMHCA Chapter

According to the FMHCA By-laws it is then necessary for you to have the following in place prior applying for a charter as a local FMHCA Chapter:

1. Gather 12 potential chapter members who are interested in becoming full members of the local chapter

2. From those 12 members insure that those who wish to officers of your board of directors are full members of FMHCA as required by the FMHCA By-Laws

3. Write up a Mission Statement which includes the Purpose of your local Chapter

4. Create a set of By-Laws which are in concert with the FMHCA By-Laws and similar to those of other local chapters in the state and your region

5. Create a name for your local chapter which distinguishes it from any other chapter which might be in your Region in the state: 


FMHCA Regions in the State of Florida

1. Northwest Regional District: which would include all FMHCA Local Chapters (Emerald Coast Mental Health Counselors Association) in the following sub-districts counties and areas in the Northwest Region of Florida

  1. Emerald Coast (5): Counties of Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton
  2. Big Bend (9): Counties of Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla

2. Northeast Regional District: which would include all FMHCA Local Chapters (Mental Health Counselors Association of Central Florida & Northeast Florida Mental Health Counselors Association) in the following sub-districts and counties:

  1. North Central (11): Counties of Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Marion, Putnam, Suwannee and Union
  2. First Coast (7): Counties of Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns
  3. Central Florida (4): Counties of Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole

3. Southwest Regional District: which would include all FMHCA Local Chapters (Gulf Coast Mental Health Counselors Association & Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association) in the following sub-districts counties:

  1. Southwest (6): Counties of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee
  2. Suncoast (7): Counties of DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota
  3. Nature Coast (6): Counties of Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Jefferson, Pasco and Levy

4. Southeast Regional District: which would include all FMHCA Local Chapters (Broward Mental Health Counselors Association & Dade-Miami Mental Health Counselors Association & Mental Health Counselors Association of Palm Beach County & Space Coast Mental Health Counselors Association) in the following sub-districts counties:

  1. Space Coast (6): Counties of Brevard, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, St Lucie and Volusia,
  2. Gold Coast (5): Counties of Broward, Dade, Highlands, Martin, Monroe and Palm Beach


6. Contact the FMHCA Regional Director in your specific Region to assist you in the process of organizing your local Chapter.


Regional Directors for FY 2016-2017

Northwest Region: Joe Skelly

Northeast Region: Erica Whitfield

Southwest Region: Jim Messina

Southeast Region: Judith Roberts


7. Submit your application to the Board of Directors for Local Chapter status.

8. The Regional Director who oversees your local chapter’s region will then champion your application for Chapter Charter with the Board of Directors who will then award you a formal Charter of Local Chapter Status. Once you receive the formal Charter of Local Chapter Status your Board will  then apply for Non-Profit Corporation Status (using the recommended either of two processes outlined in this Local Chapter Procedural Online Manual) 

Steps to Set up a FMHCA Local Chapter of in your area

 

Step 1: Create a Name for Your Local Chapter


Step 2: Write a Mission Statement for your local chapter


Examples: 


FMHCA’s Mission Statement:

The Mission of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association is to advance the profession of clinical mental health counseling through intentional and strength-based advocacy, networking, professional development, legislative efforts, public education, and the promotion of positive mental health for our communities.

 

Purposes of FMHCA, as outlined in our By-Laws:

  • Promote the profession of mental health counseling;
  • Provide a system for the exchange of professional information among mental health counselors through newsletters, journals or other scientific, educational and/or professional materials;
  • Provide professional development programs for mental health counselors to update and enhance clinical competencies;
  • Promote legislation that recognizes and advances the profession of mental health counseling;
  • Provide a public forum for mental health counselors to advocate for the social and emotional welfare of clients;
  • Promote positive relations with mental health counselors and other mental health practitioners in all work settings to enhance the profession of mental health counseling;
  • Contribute to the establishment and maintenance of minimal training standards for mental health counselors;
  • Promote scientific research and inquiry into mental health concerns;
  • Provide liaison on the state level with other professional organizations to promote the advancement of the mental health profession;
  • Promote the utilization of empirical or scientific foundation for the selection of mental health counseling techniques, procedures or psychotherapies;
  • Contribute to the reduction of client harm by encouraging mental health counselors to explain the potential risk and ethical considerations of using "unproven" or "developing" techniques or psychotherapy procedures with no scientific bases;
  • Contribute to the understanding of individuals from different cultural backgrounds within our diverse society by considering dimensions such as culture, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental and physical characteristics, education, family values, religious and spiritual values, socioeconomic status and unique characteristics of individuals, couples, families, ethnic groups and communities;
  • Provide the public with information concerning the competencies and professional services of mental health counselors; Promote equitable licensure standards for mental health counselors through the state legislature; and to Address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity and success for clients through ongoing advocacy efforts.

 

Possible Local Chapter Mission Statement


FMHCA’s Local Chapter _____________ (put in your name) is dedicated exclusively to meeting the professional needs of Licensed Mental Health Counselors in ________________ (name the community) in the FMHCA ________ Regional District (name the FMHCA Regional District in which your local chapter is located) whose purpose is to promote the profession of mental health counseling and the needs of their clients in this geographic area of Florida.

Purposes of our local chapter as outline by our By-laws are:

  • Provide a system for the exchange of professional information among mental health counselors through electronic and printed media.
  • Provide professional development programs for mental health counselors to update and enhance clinical competencies.
  • Promote legislation that recognizes and advances the profession of mental health counseling.
  • Provide a public forum for mental health counselors and other mental health practitioners in all work settings to enhance the profession of mental health counseling.
  • Promote positive relations with mental health counselors and other mental health practitioners in all work settings to enhance the profession of mental health counseling.
  • Contribute to the establishment and maintenance of minimal training standards for mental health counselors.
  • Promote scientific research and inquiry into mental health concerns.
  • Coordinate with other professional organizations to promote the advancement of the mental health profession.
  • Provide the public with information concerning the competencies and professional services of mental health counselors.
  • Contribute to the understanding of multicultural issues in counseling.

 

Step 3: Write up the Local Chapter’s By-Laws

Examples: Download copies of

  1. FMHCA’s By-Laws Click here to download
  2. A Model Set of Local Chapter By-laws Click here to download

Step 4: Select Officers and Board of Director Members

In your application for Chartering with FMHCA and eventual application for incorporation as a Non-Profit you will need seven members with names, address and other contact information listed. You will need a minimum of four persons to be Officers (President, President-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer) and three persons to be Board of Directors Member at large.  


Step 5: Apply for formal FMHCA Local Chapter Charter

You then apply for a Local Chapter Charter recognition by the FMHCA Board of Directors with the assistance of the Regional Director in the region in which your local chapter is located.


Step 6: Once you are Charted by Florida then you need to Apply for Non-Profit Corporation Status

You have two choices

1.    

1.  1. You can use Legalzoom to apply for incorporation and they will file with the State of Florida your incorporation paper. (see the directions for using Legalzoom). You can apply for Non-Profit 501(c)(6) or Non-Profit 501(c)(4) status. We recommend that you apply for the 501(c)(6) status and Click Here to download the explanation of the difference between the two  The reason for recommending the 501(c)(6) status is that the IRS has specific rules on Lobbying by 501(c)’s. Click here to download this very important information on why you cannot file for a 501(c)(3) status as a Non-Profit.


2.     2. You can apply directly to SunBiz the State of Florida that regulates all corporations and from which you will obtain your annual corporate status papers. You will want to review the Florida Statutes on Non-Profit Corporations Click Here to Download this document You can follow the directions provided by SunBiz as follows: Instructions from SunBiz on how to file for Non-Profit Corporation Papers wth the State of Florida Click here to download

  • Once you have filed with SunBiz you then need to apply to the IRS for your Corporations ID Number. The ID number is also known as the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or the Federal Tax Identification Number, the EIN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to business entities operating in the United States for the purposes of identification. You can follow the IRS instructions for filing for your Corporation ID Number. You can also use https://www.simplefilings.com/federal-ein/index_z5.php?s  to assist you to apply for Federal Tax ID/ EIN number. 

3. Information from the IRS about Non-Profits

1. Life Cycle of a 501(c)(6) Business League (Trade Association) can be reached at: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/other-non-profits/life-cycle-of-a-business-league-trade-association  


Trade associations that meet the requirements of Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(6) are exempt from federal income tax as business leagues. The same provision extends exemption to chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade, and professional football leagues.

During its existence, a tax-exempt 501(c)(6) business league has numerous interactions with the IRS - from filing an application for recognition of tax-exempt status, to filing the required annual information returns, to making changes in its mission and purpose. The IRS makes information, explanations, guides, forms and publications on all of these subjects available through this IRS Web site. The illustration on this webpage provides links to the documents most organizations need as they proceed though the phases of their "life cycle."

2. Life Cycle of a 501(c)(6) Social Welfare Organizations Information on the life cycle of 501(c)(4) organizations is available at: 

Civic leagues and social welfare organizations are exempt under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Social welfare organizations generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Organizations that may be performing some type of public or community benefit but whose principal feature is lack of private benefit or profit;
  • Organizations that would qualify for exemption under section 501(c)(3) but for a defect in their organizing documents or if they were not "action organizations"; and
  • Nonprofit organizations that traditionally have been labeled in common parlance as social welfare organizations.

During its existence, a social welfare organization has numerous interactions with the IRS from filing an application for recognition of tax-exempt status, to filing the required annual information returns, to making changes in its mission and purpose. New legislation enacted at the end of 2015 added Section 506 to the Internal Revenue Code that requires an organization to notify the IRS of its intent to operate as a Section 501(c)(4) organization. Organizations should use Form 8976 to provide this notification. This requirement only applies to organizations intending to operate under Section 501(c)(4).  

The IRS provides information, explanations, guides, forms and publications on all of these subjects through this IRS Web site. The illustration below provides an easy-to-use way of linking to the documents most organizations will need as they proceed though the phases of their "life cycle."

Step 7: (OPTIONAL) Apply for Directors and Officers Liability Insurance (D&O)

This next step is optonal: Once you have your Corporation Papers you then can if your Board votes to do so, apply for the Directors and Officers Liability Insurance using the following directions:


Director and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance

D&O (Directors and Officers) Liability Insurance provides coverage for the Board of Directors of an organization. This liability insurance protects Board Members against claims againt the association while serving in the roles duirng their Board Terms. Liability insurance is important because:

  1. I serves to prevent Board members from being held personally liable for acts of the organization
  2. Depending on the plan that you select, it may cover things such defense costs, settlements, judgments and legal counsel.
  3. It protects the personal assets of Board Members if a claim should ever be brought against the association for things such as misconduct of volunteers or employees, misuse of organizational funds, etc…

You can obtain D&O Liability Insurance simply by contacting an insurance provider, providing your organizational information and requesting a quote. 


Organizations which provide D&O Liability Insurance 

There are current two insurance providers who are sponsors for FMHCA so it would be adviseable to initially contact them for a quote letting them know that your are an organization in the State of Florida part of the larger FMHCA family.:


1. CPH & Associates: website at: http://www.cphins.com/


2. Van Wagner Group a Division of SterlingRisk Insurance: website at: http://insure-addictioncounselor.com/


Additional Insurance Provider you could contact are: 

Aon Insurance: The Aon website site has the following:

Reminder: Keep in mind that each local chapter must attain its own liability insurance coverage plan to be provided coverage if desired.  Local chapters are not covered under the liability insurance plan of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association.


Step 8: Send all completed Documents to FMHCA

Once you have complete Steps 1-7 you submit all your paperwork to FMHCA for the FMHCA Board of Directors to keep in their records so as to assist in their annual review of your chapter in the future.

RENEWAL OF LOCAL CHAPTER CHARTERS


On an annual basis your local chapter will submit a written annual audit report form by September 1 of each year to the Secretary of the FMHCA Board to include:

    • Summary of chapter activities during the past year
    • Current roster of your officers and their status as to FMHCA membership
    • Number of members in your local chapters and of these members the number of those who are also members of FMHCA
    • Current and up-to-date incorporation status with the State of Florida. You can get to your State Not For Profit corporation status by looking up your corporation name and then download the Annual Report the current Fiscal Year and upload the Current Articles of incorporation which are listed on this site under name at:  http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/ByName
    • (Optional- If your Board has it) present a copy of your current and up-to-date D&O Liability Insurance Coverage
    • Status of your website and other social media outlets
    • Continuing education efforts and programs you provided to your membership in that year
    • Legislative advocacy efforts your chapter participated in that year
    • Membership recruitment activities your chapter conducted in that year
    • Interfacing activities done with local Universities with CMHC programs done in that year

    You will also in your annual report submit the Annual Goals for the next fiscal year for your local chapter in terms of:
    • Continuing Education Activities
    • Legislative Advocacy
    • Membership Recruitment
    • Interfacing with local Universities with CMHC programs

    The FMHCA Board of Directors will utilize your annual report as well as the input of your Regional Director to act on renewing your charter for the next fiscal year. 

     

    FMHCA Local Area CMHC Networks

    Alternative Structure to Local Chapters


    So as to not hinder the growth of the CMHC profession in local areas of Florida by the steps to create a local chapter, an alternative structure is allowed to organize these CMHC’s under The FMHCA By-Laws: Article III Section 5. Interest Sections of "Special Interest Groups" ("SIGs") which reads: "Special interest Groups" (SIGs) may be organized on a statewide or local basis to promote professional interests not otherwise included in the organizational structure of FMHCA. A group of FMHCA members interested in establishing an interest section may petition the FMHCA Board of Directors for SIG status. The Board of Directors will adopt policies and procedures relative to formation, governance and funding of SIGs. 


    The following then is the policy and procedures approved by the Board of Director of FMHCA to establish: FMHCA Local Area CMHC Networks.


    Policies and Procedures of the FMHCA Local Area CMHC Networks

    1A group of at least three FMHCA members who are LMHC’s, Resident Interns or Students in CMHC’s Graduate programs may work with their respective Regional Director to create a request to establish a Local Area CMHC Network in their area


    2. The Local Network would be known as the FMHCA TBA CMHC Network. (example: FMHCA Nature Coast Clinical Mental Health Counselors Network-which would designate which counties it covers such as in this case: Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Jefferson, Pasco and Levy counties)


    3. The Local Network would not need any By-laws but could set them up, they would not need to be incorporated but would need an IRS EIN# if they were to accept money and open a bank account, would not not collect dues or fees but could if they so desired, and would not have to have a Board of Directors but they could if the so desired but since they are not incorporated they would not need D&O Liability Insurance. If they did collect dues or fees for programs they conducted they would have to have this Disclaimer on their Invoices and Receipts: Please note: TBA CMHC Network is a registered Florida not-for-profit entity, but it is not a charitable organization formed under Section 501(c)(6) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and donations to TBA CMHC Network are not tax-deductible contributions for U.S. federal income tax purposes.


    4. The Local Network would have a Chair and Assistant Chair or Board of Directors with officers if it chooses. All of these people would serve in these capacities based on the allowance of time from their work, professional, family and personal commitments 


    5. The Local Networks would organize “Meet and Greet” sessions with the CMHC’s in their local area. Such sessions could include:

    • Lunch and Learn events in which the attendees have lunch or snacks and participate in the FMHCA Webinars which are offered on a monthly basis
    • Clinical Roundtables in which the attendees share what specific clinical services they offer in either their agencies or private practices so as to improve the referral network in their local communities
    • Community Mental Health Fairs in which the Network Members both individuals and agencies offer all or half day fair in the community to inform local residents of the mental health services offered in their community


    6. The Local Networks would work closely with their FMHCA Regional Director to keep informed on the Legislative Priorities facing CMHC’s both state and nationally and send representative to the annual Legislative Day in Tallahassee as well as work closely with their local state and national representatives to keep them informed of both the FMHCA and AMHCA Legislative Priorities


    7.The Local Networks would work closely with their FMHCA Regional Director to recruit and support Agency Memberships in their local community and ensuring that Agency FMHCA members are included in their “Meet and Greet” sessions.


    8. The Local Networks would work closely with their FMHCA Regional Director to identify the continuing educational needs of their CMHC’s in their communities so as to identify future continuing educational priorities for the FMHCA Educational Committee


    9.The Local Networks would work closely with their FMHCA Regional Directors to identify areas of ethical concerns which need to be addressed by the FMHCA Ethics Committee


    10. To retain ongoing Local Network Status each local Network would by September 1 of each year submit an Annual Report through its respective FMHCA Regional DIrector to the FMHCA Board of Directors which includes:

    • Summary of Network's activities during the past year
    • Current Chair and Assistant Chair of the Local Network and their status as to FMHCA membership
    • Number of members in the local network and of these members the number of those who are also members of FMHCA


    FMHCA Board Policy and Procedures for Establishment of the Regional Directors


    On Tuesday September13, 2016, the FMHCA Board of Directors adopted the following amendment to its By-Laws, establishing the Regional Directors:

     

    Regional Directors (4 positions on the FMHCA Board of Directors)

    There are four FMHCA Regional District in Florida as follows:

    1. Northwest Regional District: which includes all FMHCA Local Chapters (Emerald Coast Mental Health Counselors Association) in the following sub-districts counties and areas in the Northwest Region of Florida

    • Emerald Coast (5): Counties of Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton
    • Big Bend (9): Counties of Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla,

    2. Northeast Regional District: which includes all FMHCA Local Chapters (Mental Health Counselors Association of Central Florida & Northeast Florida Mental Health Counselors Association) in the following sub-districts and counties:

    • North Central (11): Counties of Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Marion, Putnam, Suwannee and Union
    • First Coast (7): Counties of Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns
    • Central Florida (4): Counties of Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole

    3. Southwest Regional District: which includes all FMHCA Local Chapters (Gulf Coast Mental Health Counselors Association & Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association) in the following sub-districts counties:

    • Southwest (6): Counties of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee
    • Suncoast (7): Counties of DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota
    • Nature Coast (6): Counties of Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Jefferson, Pasco and Levy

    4. Southeast Regional District: which includes all FMHCA Local Chapters (Broward Mental Health Counselors Association & Dade-Miami Mental Health Counselors Association & Mental Health Counselors Association of Palm Beach County & Space Coast Mental Health Counselors Association) in the following sub-districts counties:

    • Space Coast (6): Counties of Brevard, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, St Lucie and Volusia,
    • Gold Coast (5): Counties of Broward, Dade, Highlands, Martin, Monroe and Palm Beach

     

    Term of Office: There will be one elected Regional Director for each of the District who will serve a 3-year term.


    Roles and Responsibilities of the Regional Directors:

    The roles and responsibilities are:

    1. To conduct affairs at the regional level in compliance with the Bylaws of the Association.

    2. To be the voice on the regional level for FMHCA concerning all of the association activities for its membership including: Chapter Relations and Chapter Formation, Membership, Education, Conferences, Legislation and Ethics

    3. To encourage members in their respective Regional District to fully engage in the Membership, Education Programming, Conference Planning and Legislative activities of FMHCA on specific FMHCA committees so that the entire state has its voice in the policies, procedures and activities of the FMHCA.

    4. To submit a monthly report on the progress within their respective Regions which is provided to the FMHCA Board of Directors

    5. To conduct an annual audit of the Local Chapters and Local Networks in their Region and provide a summary report to the Board of Directors on their activity.

    6. To coordinate their activities with the FMHCA Central Office and Executive Director

     

    Plan of Staggering Terms of the Regional Directors effective FY2017-2018

    On September 13, 2016 the FMHCA Board of Directors adopted the following plan for electing the Regional Directors beginning in Fiscal Year 2017-2018:

    The Elections of new FMHCA Board Members for FY 2017-2018 that the following staggered terms of office be given for each of the Regional Director positions as follows:

    1. Northwest Region: 3-year Term
    2. Northeast Region: 2-year Term
    3. Southwest Region: 2-year Term
    4. Southeast Region: 1-year Term

    This was done to provide at least two experienced Regional Directors on the Board for the newly elected Regional Directors to provide them peer mentoring and support. Once we assume the 3- year term positions in the following fiscal year elections.  This also makes sure that not all 4 positions are opened in the same year, so as not to have to orient four new Board Members at a time and it takes time to get used to being on the FMHCA Board