The CSHSE History

In 1976, the Southern Regional Education Board conducted a survey of over 300 human service training programs throughout the country to obtain information on program content and characteristics. The purpose of the survey was to obtain baseline data upon which to make decisions concerning program standards. Support for the project was provided by a grant from the National Institute for Mental Health.

Results of the survey indicated several areas of significant agreement among programs training purposes, field experience requirements, generic skills for working in human services, interdisciplinary faculty characteristics, and common program policies. These findings were used by a task force of educators who met to recommend proposed program standards and develop an assessment model. The task force produced the format and general content areas of the standards.
The proposed standards were field tested for language and clarity before general distribution. In 1978, the proposed standards were mailed to over 1100 faculty members of human service programs and a group of service providers and graduates for their reactions. Respondents were asked to rate the acceptability and appropriateness of each standard and provide additional comments as warranted.

The result of this process was the National Standards for Human Service Education and Training Programs. They are intentionally general to strike a balance between clearly stated principles and enough flexibility to avoid constraining natural diversity among programs.

In 1979, the Council for Standards in Human Service Education was established to give focus and direction to education and training in mental health and human services throughout the country. The Council exists to help human service educators and college administrators who are interested in achieving maximum educational effectiveness and to formally recognize and approve programs whose competence warrants public and professional confidence.

The accreditation process is designed to assist programs in self-study evaluation and continual improvement and produce new, creative approaches to the preparation of human service practitioners at all levels. The CSHSE accreditation attests to a program’s compliance with the Standards.

In 1983, after using the Standards in the program accreditation process, the Council Board of Directors authorized the formation of a task force to review and recommend revisions to the Standards. The task force’s charge was to clarify the differentiation between advanced and associate degree programs and to create a new technical (non-degree granting) program level. The task force included faculty from colleges offering programs at each of the three levels and training personnel from human service delivery agencies.

The result of the task force’s effort was mailed to all members of the Council for review and comment. These comments were used as the basis for the following proposed revision of the Standards for Human Service Worker Education and Training Programs. In 1996, a survey was conducted at the annual NOHSE conference to determine if practicum hour standards were still in line with community and academic needs. Survey analysis indicated that revisions were in order. A committee was established to review and make the recommendations that have been incorporated into the standards.

Today, the Council remains committed to assuring the quality, consistency and relevance of human services education through national standards, accreditation, consultation, research, and publication. Its vision is to be a world class organization promoting excellence and success in human service education, providing quality assurance, and guaranteeing standards of performance and practice through the accreditation process