International Association of Addictions & Offender Counselors

IAAOC History

The International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors (IAAOC) was formed in 1972 as the Public Offender Counselor Association (POCA). POCA was granted Division status in 1974 in the American Personnel and Guidance Association, which evolved into the American Counseling Association (ACA). The primary goals of POCA were to promote quality rehabilitation services to public offenders and to represent the interest and concerns of professional counselors who provided these services. Officially, POCA became IAAOC on July 16, 1990. This change reflected a more accurate membership orientation and scope, thereby including addictions counseling.


Throughout the organization’s development, the consistent theme has focused on the recognition of the Professional Counselor as a qualified practitioner in the field of addictions and forensic treatment services. To this end the Journal of Addictions and Offender Counseling has been a consistent source of quality, refereed research for our members. Additionally, IAAOC was an active stakeholder in the development and promotion of the Master Addictions Counselor (MAC) credential through the National Board of Certified Counselors, which recognizes appropriate graduate education and specialized training as a foundation for addictions and offender counselors.


IAAOC has maintained an active partnership with the American Counseling Association (ACA) including dynamic involvement on the ACA Governing Council, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the Council of Presidents and Regional Association Chairs (COPARC), and numerous other committees and task force designed to meet the needs of all professional counselors and their clients in a rapidly changing society. IAAOC’s leadership supports local, state, national, and international efforts through promotion of quality presentations. Through legislative and advocacy activities, collaboration across divisions of ACA, providing specialized training and cutting-edge techniques. Maintaining and enhancing communication among leaders and members has been and continues to be a primary goal of the organization. Venues such as the quarterly newsletter, website (, and supporting the professional development of graduate students and professional members through research and various other grant opportunities are just a few examples of IAAOC’s pledge to collaborative communication.


IAAOC’s development establishes a steadfast commitment of time and energy by many individuals who have stepped forth to provide leadership and direction for our organization. The Past Presidents page is our simple tribute to their efforts.

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