New Jersey Disaster Response Crisis Counselor (NJDRCC) Certification
New Jersey is one of the first states in the nation to undergo a formal process for certification of its disaster crisis response workforce. The NJDRCC certification represents a partnership between the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services' Disaster and Terrorism Branch, the Mental Health Association of New Jersey and The Certification Board of New Jersey, Inc. Funded through a generous federal Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) grant, the DRCC certification is issued by The Certification Board.
To obtain the DRCC certification one must complete the following 5 required courses:
1) National Incident Management System (NIMS 700)/Incident Command System (ICS 100)
2) Introduction to Disaster and Trauma Counseling: Basic Training for Disaster Response Crisis Counselors
3) Ethical Issues in Crisis Response
4) Cross Cultural Issues in Disaster Response
5) Key Concepts in Psychological First Aid
Completed applications are reviewed by a committee of professionals with expertise in disaster response. Applications which have met the approval of this committee are then forwarded to The Certification Board for final processing, which includes background checks conducted through fingerprinting. Instructions for the application and the on-line certification application are provided on this website.
The need for certifying crisis response workers became apparent in the aftermath of 9/11, when the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services operated its largest FEMA-funded disaster response program in its history. Many lessons were learned from 9/11, with one of the principle lessons being the critical need for an organized, well-trained and credentialed workforce. The NJDRCC certification began as a credentialing pilot project in August 2004, when community forums were held to gather information and expertise on the subject. It became the Disaster and Terrorism Branch’s mission to develop and sustain a qualified volunteer workforce.
As of 2014, over 2800 applications have been received and approximately 1189 certifications have been issued. The Certification Board meets on a quarterly basis (September, December, March and June) and must review all completed applications for final approval and issuance of the DRCC certification. The DRCC certification process continues to be refined and streamlined in order to maximize efficiency and ensure that qualified applicants are certified in a timely fashion.
Prior to the end of the two year certification, human service professionals are required to complete a 12-hour continuing education curriculum for DRCC re-certification. Should you have additional questions about the DRCC certification, please contact Tegan Perrotta, Coordinator for the Mental Health Association of New Jersey at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Annie Westerman, Program Manager for NJDMHAS Disaster and Terrorism Branch at email@example.com. Please check this website (www.njdrcc.org) for more detailed information and updates to our training calendar.