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Certified Peer Specialist- Parent (CPS-P)

Job Description

Parent Peer Support (PPS) is a strength-based rehabilitative service provided to parents/caregivers that

is expected to increase the youth/family’s capacity to function within their home, school, and

community while promoting recovery. These services are rendered by a CPS-P (Certified Peer Support –

Parent) who is performing the service within the scope of their knowledge, lived experience, and


What are the Services?

The service exists within a system of care framework and enables timely response to the needs of all

family members across several life domains, incorporating formal and informal supports, and developing

realistic intervention strategies that complement the youth’s natural environment.

The services are geared toward promoting self‐empowerment of the parent, enhancing community

living skills, and developing natural supports through the following interventions:

1. Through positive relationships with health providers, promoting access and quality services to the


2. Assisting with identifying other community and individual supports that can be used by the family to

achieve their goals and objectives-; these can include friends, relatives, and/or religious affiliations.

3. Assisting the youth and family accessing strength-based behavioral health, social services,

educational services and other supports and resources required to assist the family to attain its

vision/goals/objectives including:

a) Helping the family identify natural supports that exist for the family; and

b) Working with families to access supports which maintain youth in the least restrictive setting

possible; and

c) Working with the families to ensure that they have a choice in life aspects, sustained access to

an ownership of their IRP and resources developed.

d) In partnership with the multi-disciplinary team, working with the provider community to

develop responsive and flexible resources that facilitate community-based interventions and

supports that correspond with the needs of the families and their youth.


Interventions are approached from a perspective of lived experience and mutuality, building family

recovery, empowerment, and self-efficacy. Interventions are based upon respect and honest dialogue.

The unique mutuality of the service allows the sharing of personal experience including modeling family

recovery, respect, and support that is respectful of the individualized journey of a family’s recovery.

Equalized partnership must be established to promote shared decision making while remaining family

centered. All aspects of the intervention acknowledge and honor the cultural uniqueness of each family

and the many pathways to family recovery.

Understanding Parent Peer Support Services 

One of the primary functions of the Parent Peer Support service is to promote family/youth recovery.

While the identified youth is the target for services, recovery is approached as a family journey towards

self-management and developing the concept of wellness and functioning while actively managing a

chronic behavioral health condition, which enable the youth to be supported in wellness within his/her

family unit. Families are supported by the CPS and by participating group members in learning to live life

beyond the identified behavioral health condition, focusing on identifying and enhancing the strengths

of their family unit as supporters of the youth.

As a part of this service intervention, a CPS-P will articulate points in their own recovery stories that are

relevant to the obstacles faced by the family of consumers of behavioral health services and promote

personal responsibility for family recovery as the youth/family define recovery.

Parent Peer Support Service - Group

The group focuses on building respectful partnerships with families, identifying the needs of the

parent/caregiver and helping the parent recognize self‐efficacy while building partnership between

families, communities, and system stakeholders in achieving the desired outcomes. This service provides

the training and support necessary to promote engagement and active participation of the family in the

supports/treatment/recovery planning process for the youth and assistance with the ongoing

implementation and reinforcement of skills learned throughout the treatment/support process. PPS is a

supportive relationship between a parent/guardian and a CPS-P that promotes respect, trust, and

warmth and empowers the group participants to make choices and decisions to enhance their family


The following are among the wide range of specific interventions and supports which are expected and

allowed in the provision of this service:

1. Facilitating peer support in and among the participating group family members.

2. Assisting families in gaining skills to promote the families’ recovery process (e.g., self-advocacy,

developing natural supports, etc.).

3. Support family voice and choice by assisting the family in assuming the lead roles in all multidisciplinary team meetings.

4. Listening to the family’s needs and concerns from a peer perspective and offering suggestions for

engagement in planning process.

5. Providing ongoing emotional support, modeling and mentoring during all phases of the planning

services/support planning process.

6. Promoting and planning for family and youth recovery, resilience and wellness.

7. Working with the family to identify, articulate and build upon their strengths while addressing their

concerns, needs and opportunities.

8. Helping families better understand choices offered by service providers, and assisting with

understanding policies, procedures, and regulations that impact the identified youth while living in

the community.

Understanding Parent Peer Support Services 

9. Ensuring the engagement and active participation of the family and youth in the planning process

and guiding families toward taking a pro-active and self-managing role in their youth's treatment.

10. Assisting the family with the acquisition of the skills and knowledge necessary to sustain an

awareness of their youth's needs as well as his/her strengths and the development and

enhancement of the family's unique problem‐solving skills, coping mechanisms, and strategies for

the youth's illness/symptom/behavior management.

11. Assisting the parent participants in coordinating with other youth‐serving systems, as needed, to

achieve the family/youth goals.

12. As needed, assisting communicating family needs to multi-disciplinary team members, while also

building the family skills in self-articulating; needs/desires/preferences for treatment and support

with the goal of full family-guided, youth-driven self-management.

13. Supporting, modeling, and coaching families to help with their engagement in all health-related


14. Coaching parents in developing systems advocacy skills in order to take a proactive role in their

youth's treatment and to obtain information and advocate with all youth-serving systems.

15. Cultivating the parent/guardian’s ability to make informed, independent choices including a network

for information and support which will include others who have been through similar experiences.

16. Building the family skills, knowledge, and tools related to the identified condition/related symptoms

  • so that the family/youth can assume the role of self-monitoring and self-management; and Assisting

the parent participants in understanding:

a) Various system processes, how these relate to the youth’s recovery process, and their valued

role (e.g., crisis planning, IRP process).

b) What a behavioral health diagnosis means and what a journey to recovery may look like.

c) The role of services/prescribed medication in diminishing/managing the symptoms of that

condition and increasing resilience and functioning in living with that condition.

17. Empowering the family on behalf of the recipient; providing information regarding the nature,

purpose, and benefits of all services; providing interventions and support; and providing overall

support and education to a caregiver to ensure that he or she is well equipped to support the youth

in service transition/upon discharge and have natural supports and be able to navigate service

delivery systems.

18. Identifying the importance of Self Care, addressing the need to maintain family whole health and

wellness to ultimately support the youth with a behavioral health condition.

19. Assisting the family participants in self-advocacy promoting family-guided, youth-driven services and


20. Drawing upon their own experience, helping the family/youth find and maintain hope as a tool for

progress towards recovery.

21. Assisting youth and families with identifying goals, representing those goals to the collaborative,

multi-disciplinary treatment team, and, together, taking specific steps to achieve those goals.

Understanding Parent Peer Support Services 


Admission Criteria

1. PPS is targeted to the parent/guardian of youth/young adults who meet the following criteria:

Individual is 21 or younger; and has a substance related condition and/or mental illness; and two or

more of the following:

a) Individual and his/her family needs peer-based recovery support for the acquisition of skills

needed to engage in and maintain youth/family recovery; or

b) Individual and his/her family need assistance to develop self-advocacy skills to achieve self-management of the youth’s behavioral health status; or

c) Individual and his/her family need assistance and support to prepare for a successful youth

work/school experience; or

d) iv. Individual and his/her family need peer modeling to increase responsibilities for youth/family


2. For the purposes of this service, "family" is defined as the person(s) who live with or provide care to

the targeted youth, and may include a parent, guardians, other caregiving relatives, and foster


Continuing Stay Criteria

1. Individual continues to meet admission criteria; and

2. Progress notes document parent/guardian progress relative to goals which the youth/family

identified in the Individualized Recovery Plan, but treatment/recovery goals have not yet been


Discharge Criteria

3. An adequate continuing recovery plan has been established; and one or more of the following:

a) Goals of the Individualized Recovery Plan have been substantially met; or

b) Individual served/family requests discharge; or

c) Transfer to another service/level is more clinically appropriate.


Service Exclusions

1. "Family” or “caregiver” does not include individuals who are employed to care for the member

(Excepting individuals who are identified as a foster parent).

2. General support groups which are made available to the public to promote education and advocacy

do not qualify as Parent Peer Support.

3. If there are siblings of the targeted youth for whom a need is specified, this service is not billable

unless there is applicability to the targeted youth/family.

Understanding Parent Peer Support Services 5 | Page

4. This unique billable service may not be billed for youth who resides in a congregate setting in which

the caregivers are paid in a parental role (such as child caring institutions, or any other living

environment that is not comprised of family, guardians, or other more permanent caregivers). A

short-term exception would be if the youth were preparing for transition back to a single-family

unit, the family member is present during the intervention, and the service is directed to supporting

the unification/reunification of the youth and his/her identified family/caregiver and takes place in

that home and community.

Clinical Exclusions

Individuals with the following conditions are excluded from admission unless there is clearly

documented evidence of a behavioral health condition overlaying the diagnosis: Developmental

Disability, Autism, Neurocognitive Disorder, or Traumatic Brain Injury.

Required Components

1. Individuals participating in the service at any given time must have the opportunity to participate in

and make decisions about the person-centered interactions offered by the Certified Peer

Specialist(s), while also respecting the group dynamics.

2. The operating agency shall have an organizational plan which articulates the following agency


a) PPS cannot operate in isolation from the rest of the programs/services within the agency or

affiliated organization or from other health providers.

b) CPS-Ps providing this service are supported through a myriad of agency resources (e.g.

Supervisors, internal agency 24/7 crisis resources, external crisis resources, etc.) in responding

to youth/family crises.

3. The CPS-P shall be empowered to convene multidisciplinary team meetings regarding a participating

individual’s needs and desires as they become known in the group setting.

4. The CPS-P must be allowed to participate as an equal practitioner partner with all staff in

multidisciplinary team meetings.

Staffing Requirements

1. Services must be provided by a CPS-P.

2. Parent Peer Support services are provided in a structured 1:15 CPS to participant ratio.

3. A CPS-P must receive ongoing and regular supervision by an independently licensed practitioner to


a) Supervisor’s availability to provide backup, support, and/or consultation to the CPS-P as needed.

b) The partnership between the Supervisor and CPS-P in collaboratively assessing fidelity to the

service definition and addressing implementation successes/challenges; and

4. A CPS-P cannot provide this service to his/her own youth and/or family or to an individual with

whom he/she is living.

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