File a Complaint


CAADE Ethics Complaint Procedure

Whenever an individual becomes aware of a potential ethical violation involving a CAADE certified counselor or CATC registrant, (see CAADE code of Ethics, Scope of Practice, and Code of Conduct) a complaint MUST be filed directly with DHCS. Filing with CAADE is optional. To file a complaint with CAADE, please follow the instructions below and sumbit the CAADE Ethics Complaint Form.


Upon receiving a complaint, the CAADE office will immediately ensure that the complaint is filed with DHCS, either by the complainant or the CAADE Office. All materials shall be forwarded to the Ethics Committee Chair. The Chair will determine if a designation such as “Under Administrative Review” shall be placed on the CAADE website.


If the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) proceeds with in investigation and a sanction, CAADE office will follow DHCS requirements. Office will supply copies of all materials to members of the Ethics Committee. The committee will confer and make recommendations to the Certification Board regarding disputing the complaint/sanctions, or recommending additional sanctions.


If CAADE receives a complaint via DHCS that they declined to investigate then the complaint will be immediately referred to all members of the Ethics Committee.  The Committee will decide if an investigation is warranted, and at its discretion immediately ask that a “Under Administrative Review” (or similar) designation should appear on the CAADE website. If the allegation is very serious and the initial evidence is sufficient (an “emergency” or “egregious act” as on the CCCO matrix) the Committee may issue an immediate sanction or suspension.  Otherwise the Committee will begin the investigation process.


Upon receiving a complaint that DHCS declines to investigate the CAADE office will have 24 business hours to:

a. Date/Time stamp the complaint form

b. Open an internal ethics investigation file

c. Forward complaint to the CAADE Ethics Committee Chair & Members

d. Upon approval from the Ethics Chair the Office shall notify the Certified or Registered individual (hereinafter “Respondent”) of the pending ethics complaint within seven (7) business days. This letter shall include contact (email) information of the Committee Chair and/or her/his designee.


Ethics Committee Investigation

Upon review, the Chair will open an investigation with Ethics Committee. At the Chair’s discretion, additional members who are in good ethical standing and who have no conflict of interest may be appointed to assist the investigation process. Office staff shall offer logistical assistance upon request.


The Committee will decide on procedure regarding the investigation, which may include individual Committee members conducting necessary face-to-face and telephonic interviews with all individuals related to the claim, including people named in the claim, employers, and witnesses, and submit their written findings to the Ethics Chair. The Committee may consult CAADE Counsel at its discretion.


Upon receipt of the investigation reports, the Ethics Chair will facilitate a telephonic Ethics Committee meeting to discuss the findings of the investigation committee and determine any sanctions.


Upon Completion of the Ethics Committee Meeting, and within 60 days of the original

complaint date, the Ethics Chair will notify the CAADE Certification Board Chair and the CAADE Office of their findings and recommendations. Within 90 days from the original complaint date, the CAADE Office and/or the Credentialing Board Chair, using a recognized overnight carrier such as UPS or Federal Express, or the United States Post Office Priority Mail with tracking, will notify the Respondent of the investigation findings and the Ethics Committee’s decision.


Appeal Process

The Respondent may appeal the final Ethics Committee decision (as ratified by the CAADE Certification Chair) (hereinafter “the Decision”) according to the "Appeal Process" as outlined below. The Respondent who files an appeal is referred to as the “Appellant.” The Appellant must submit a written request for an appeal to the CAADE Credentialing office within thirty (30) days from the date of the decision.


Upon receipt of an appeal request, the CAADE Certification Chair shall appoint an Appeals Panel to review the decision. The members of the Appeals Panel shall be comprised of the members of the Ethics Committee and at least one other member of CAADE who was not part of the original Ethics Committee.


When hearing the appeal, the Appeals Panel may take any of the following actions:

a. Uphold the decision of the Ethics Committee’s decision as ratified by the Certification Board Chair;

b. Rule that the Ethics Committee’s decision is valid, yet impose a lesser/greater form of censure;

c. Overrule the Ethics Committee’s decision, while still affirming the validity of the process;

The appeal process is for individuals who were denied registration/certification,

denied certification/registration renewal, whose certification was suspended or

revoked, or for any other ruling as made by the Ethics Committee and ratified by the CAADE Certification Chair.


The purpose of appeal is solely to determine if the Ethics Committee has accurately and

adequately reviewed the Appellant's complaint as per the aforementioned procedures and

rendered a reasonable decision.


Within thirty (30) days The CAADE Chair or his/her designate, shall transmit the appeal request to the appointed Appeals Panel, which shall conduct a formal appeals hearing. The Appeals Panel shall schedule a hearing to occur within ninety (90) days of the receipt of the appeal request. Notification of the time, place and date of the Appeals Panel hearing shall be sent to the Appellant via any method reasonably calculated to reach the Appellant, including email, fax, postal service, delivery service or other like services), not less than thirty (30) days prior to the hearing date. The appeal may be held through teleconferencing or webcasting.


The Appellant has the right to appear at the hearing, has the right to counsel, and has the right to have witnesses present. (Legal counsel for the Appellant, if any, is not allowed to speak on behalf of the Appellant, but may be present to advise his/her client).


The Appellant may choose to submit written testimony in lieu of his/her presence at the

hearing; written testimony must be submitted at least five days prior to the hearing date.

Failure to show up for the hearing or provide timely written testimony will automatically result in the appeal being dismissed and the Ethics Committee’s determination being upheld. The Appeals Panel decision shall be made by majority vote.


The Appeals Panel shall have ninety (90) days from the date it receives the appeal request to make a final decision. The Appellant shall be notified in writing of the Appeal Panel’s decision within fifteen (15) days after the final decision. The findings and decision of the Appeals Panel are final.


An individual’s certification status (suspension/revocation/sanctions etc.) will be posted on the public database (website registry); and will be posted until all sanctions are satisfactorily completed and submitted in writing and verified (if applicable.) The website will be adjusted to state that a violation was committed and registration/certification status is restored.


In compliance with state regulations and CAADE Credentialing policies, all complaints filed under these procedures are publicly documented on the database (website) as “pending” until such time the case is resolved and/or decided upon; at such time, the status of the certificant/registrant will be listed. Additionally, employers may be contacted per regulations as well. All certificants/registrants are required to cooperate as a condition of certification/registration. Failure to cooperate may result in immediate suspension of certification or registration, with no ability to appeal. Additionally, all registrants and certificants are required to comply with all state regulations including any adopted code of conduct.




An “emergency report/action” is identified as an “egregious” act listed on the CCCO’s Sanctions Matrix as being one that requires revocation or denial of initial certification/registration. “Pending” will be placed on website until resolved, and the certificant/registrant could only perform non-counseling duties at his/her employment.



To temporarily remove from active status, may be returned after a completion of required sanctions timed and tasked.



Revocation of certification/registration is permanent.