English Language Learner (ELL) testing accommodations for practitioners on the MFT licensure track was created in good faith that it would help to reduce barriers and increase resources for ELL MFTs. However, this resource became an added barrier to licensure for ELL MFTs. In order to use this resource, ELL MFTs had to pay $80 for 1 hour of extra testing time or $125 for 2 hours of extra testing time; these costs are in addition to the exam fee. The cost of this resource deterred ELL MFTs from using this resource, although it was made for them.
In a MN Mental Health Providers of Color meeting in 2020, concerns were raised about the discriminatory practice of ELL MFTs testing accommodation fees. From this meeting, Lisa Xiong, MA, LMFT, RPT organized, increased others' awareness, and continued discussions around the discriminatory practice with other BIPOC clinicians across counseling disciplines, BIPOC MFTs, ELL MFTs, and White allies. A letter was written and signed by BIPOC clinicians from other counseling disciplines, BIPOC MFTs, ELL MFTs, and White allies. The letter was signed by over 100 people. This drew the attention of representative Hodan Hassan, who has a passion for helping to remove barriers for marginalized communities and received her support. This letter was sent to the MN Board of Marriage and Family Therapy and petitioned the board to remove ELL testing accommodation fees. On November 19, 2021, Lisa, BIPOC MFTs, ELL MFTs, and White allies were present for a MN Board of MFT public board meeting. Lisa and Michael Kinzer, MA, LMFT testified to the licensing board requesting the removal of ELL testing accommodations. At this meeting, John Seymour and other board members were interested in figuring out a solution to remove testing accommodations.
On June 1, 2022 it was posted on the MN Board of MFT website (MN Board of MFT) that ELL testing accommodation fees were eliminated. The result of this would not have been possible without a community. Thank you to Lisa Xiong, Michael Kinzer, Representative Hassan, BIPOC clinicians from other counseling disciplines, BIPOC MFTs, ELL MFTs, and White allies for supporting this cause and making a difference in the MFT community!