News and Events

Florida Representative Traci Koster Visits Marriage & Family Therapy Program at USF

Traci Koster Visit

Florida Representative Traci Koster (center holding award) with faculty, staff, students, and guests of the USF Marriage & Family Therapy Program.

Florida Representative Traci Koster visited faculty, staff and students in the USF Marriage & Family Therapy Program on November 15th and received recognition for her sponsorship of Florida House Bill 343/Mental Health Professional Licensure. The bill provides a 5 year window for MFT training programs to obtain COAMFTE or CACREP accreditation, thus preserving a path to licensure for many current and recent MFT program students across the state. The USF Marriage and Family Therapy Program graduated its first cohort of students this past August and they are among those trainees who now have a path to licensure as marriage and family therapists in Florida. 

Koster, who represents District 64 in Florida (Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties) was elected to the Florida House Representatives in 2020. She has sponsored bills related to education innovation, economic growth and environmental restoration.

During her visit to USF, Koster met with the Dean of the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences, Dr. Julie Serovich, to discuss the need for more therapists in the growing MFT field. She also talked with students and faculty, sharing her experiences and lessons learned working with families through their divorce procedures. 

“We need to talk more about it. It’s okay to say ‘I’m not feeling okay’. It’s okay to say ‘my marriage isn’t working out’, but before you get a divorce lawyer, meet with a trained marriage and family professional and make that decision with them. That’s why we need to expand the MFT field.”

Koster was presented awards of appreciation from both the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the Florida Family Therapy Alliance (FFTA).

"Your passion for mental health is evident in your sponsorship of Florida’s HB 343," said Tracy Todd, Chief Executive Officer of AAMFT. "This bill was critical in securing a path for qualified and trained marriage and family therapists to gain licensure to provide mental health services to the citizens and families of Florida."

“Representative Koster’s visit was a powerful reminder of the impact our students will have on families and on the community during their careers. It was great to have AAMFT and Florida Family Therapy Alliance join with USF in recognizing Representative Koster’s contribution to growing the field of marriage and family therapy in Florida,” said Dr. Ryan Henry, LMFT Program Director.