The Upper Midwest Indian Council on Addictive Disorders (UMICAD) offers certification to qualified AODA
counselors who work with Indian people
The purpose of certification is to insure a level of knowledge and skill among counselors. UMICAD
believes in the importance of standards for counselor practice established by Indian AODA program staff
rather than waiting for the government to set standards.
Certification for counselors, developed by Indian people, is considered necessary because special skills
and knowledge that are needed to work effectively within the Indian community. By the development of
Indian specific certification standards, Indian people are more assured that unique cultural, spiritual, and
social factors are incorporated into the standards. Certification provides a measure of excellence, which
is recognized far beyond the Indian community. It constitutes an important step in insuring that the
quality of AODA counseling services is maintained at a recognized acceptable level.
Certification attests to the professional qualifications and competence of the counselor.
The standards for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor I (CADC I) are those commonly recognized by
various AODA entities and authorities in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Northern
Illinois, the UMICAD, and the Indian Health Service (IHS). The specific requirements and procedures for
certification have been developed by the UMICAD.
The standards for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor II and III (CADC II & III) meet and are approved
by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and other Drug Abuse, Inc.
The Upper Midwest Indian Council on Addictive Disorder was created with the cooperation of the Area
Bemidji IHS in recognition of the need for competitive standards with other certification bodies, as well
as the increasing accountability required by the Federal Government.
Beginning in 1978, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse began transferring to the United States
Public Health Service, IHS. This transfer of agency authority came about in part because of P.L. 94-437,
Indian Health Care Improvement Act. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act noted that alcohol abuse
continued to be a major health problem among Indian people. Indian Health Services had been the
principal federal agency responsible for Indian health care since 1955, therefore, Congress believed it
was appropriate for IHS to assume direct responsibility for Indian alcohol programs.
To continue the tribal and urban AODA programs, IHS contracts with tribal governments and urban
non-profit boards to maintain and expand Indian alcohol programs. In addition to maintaining existing
programs, IHS has committed itself to provide training and evaluation.
As Programs expand and attain stability, the tribal community has a right to consistent and defined
levels of services. Counselor certification is an important factor in defining a consistent level of
knowledge and skill. Certification is a process by which non-governmental agencies grant recognition to
individuals who have met certain per-determined qualifications specified by that agency and are generally
agreed upon by other agencies to be of value.