Office of Recovery and Community Affairs

Connecticut Peer/Recovery Support Certification Process

Frequently Asked Questions

The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) has contracted with the Connecticut Certification Board (CCB) to implement a Peer/Recovery Supports certification process in collaboration with DMHAS. 

The process for the development of the Peer/Recovery Support certification requires a thorough job analysis and identification of competencies for the role. The job analysis and competencies will be developed with the help of experts who understand peer support, along with a psychometrician. The job of the psychometrician is to conduct a series of focus groups and gather recommendations from a panel of subject matter experts. Once the job analysis and competencies are outlined, exam items will be developed to match them, and the test will be created. Additional information about the process is detailed below.

What happens to those who have completed training and currently have their Recovery Support Specialist or Recovery Coach training?

There will be a "grandparenting" process that will consider the following: 1) have completed training and are up to date with continuing education requirements; 2) have experience working or volunteering as a peer supporter or recovery coach – using your lived experience to support others – in both traditional and non-traditional settings; and, 3) identify as people with their own first-hand lived experience of recovery from mental health distress, substance use challenges, and/or addictions. Those that are "grandparented" will not have to sit for the exam and will be expected to submit documentation in order to be certified.

Please note, specific requirements will be determined by the advisory committee.

Why is Peer/Recovery Support certification important?

Peer/Recovery Support certification is important to ensure that people trained in these roles have the same core set of skills and competencies focused on effective delivery of peer support.    

Who can apply to be certified as Peer/Recovery Support specialist?

In Connecticut, people applying for the peer support certification/credential must have lived experience with mental health distress, substance use challenges, and/or addictions and have completed an approved Connecticut training curricula on basic peer support and recovery coach training that ensures they are equipped to work with others from a recovery perspective, use their personal stories to build relationships, focus on mutuality, meet individuals where they are on their recovery journey, and model core values, ethics, and principles.

How long will the certification/credential development process take?

Developing the competencies, requirements, job analysis, and the test is expected to take approximately 6 months.

I am a Peer, Recovery Support Specialist, or Recovery Coach do I have to take the test?

People who meet the “grandparenting” requirements will be able to apply for certification without taking the test. This process will be in place for a period of time to be determined, and eventually will be fully replaced by the certification exam.

What is a psychometrician?

A psychometrician is an expert on developing valid measures and instruments, such as tests and assessments. Through a series of standardized procedures, psychometricians define constructs and valid ways to measure them. Their work is important to ensure that the test questions measure the set of competencies and skills that are needed to be an effective Peer/Recovery Support Worker.

Are Peer/Recovery Support Workers, Recovery Support Specialists, or Recovery Coaches participating in this process?

People with lived experience with mental health distress, substance use challenges, and/or addictions may participate in three ways. They can be 1) subject matter experts, or 2) members of the Advisory Committee, and/or 3) citizens sharing their comments and feedback throughout the process to the advisory team, CCB, or DMHAS’ Office of Recovery and Community Affairs. Subject matter experts will convene approximately three times a month for four months to review materials and make recommendations. The subject matter expert panel is essential to ensure participation from the recovery community and transparency in this process. The Advisory Committee will convene monthly to advise the group.

How can I join the Advisory Committee or Subject Matter Expert panel?

Subject matter experts can be self-nominated, or nominated by others, such as other peer supporters or other experts in behavioral health practice or research.

The Advisory Committee members will not overlap with the subject matter experts.

Please see below for information regarding the Subject Matter Expert and Advisory Committee Selection Process and Results. Citizens are still invited to share their comments and feedback throughout the process to the advisory team, CCB, or DMHAS’ Office of Recovery and Community Affairs.

Will there be public meetings I can attend and ask questions?

Yes, two virtual Town Halls were held on January 26 and January 31. Feedback from both forums is being gathered and processed and some form of “report-back” will be generated. 

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Cheri Bragg, Assistant Director, Office of Recovery Community Affairs (ORCA)

Cheri.Bragg@ct.gov

Who is responsible for this process?

The DMHAS team is led by the Office of Recovery Community Affairs staff, which reports to the Office of the Commissioner. DMHAS has contracted with the Connecticut Certification Board (CCB). This is a collaborative process. CCB has expertise in credentialing other disciplines, and the advisory team and subject matter experts have expertise in peer support.

Will there be one test for both Mental Health and Substance Use Peer/Recovery Support?

Yes, the test is about Peer/Recovery Support and will cover subjects related to peer support delivery. In addition, there could be specific questions addressing mental health and substance use; however, these questions are based on general competencies learned in peer support, RSS, and Recovery Coach training. 

Who will supervise Certified Peer/Recovery Support positions?

As part of this process, we will also work toward development of a peer supervisor credential.

Will there be a certification process for allies, caregivers, and family members?

To be determined. Conversations are happening on the importance of developing certification and credentialing processes for family members, caregivers, allies.

Once I get certified, what will be my credential title?

The Advisory Committee will help us determine the final title.

What does a test prove in terms of my ability to be a Peer Supporter?

Training, supervision, and experience requirements, combined with a passing test result, will be required. This type of holistic assessment is standard in many credentialing processes - the test is only part of the process.

It is important to state that there are some for whom certification or having a credential is not necessary for a variety of reasons; however, they may choose to have the training and education to further their own learning and professional development. The approved trainers in Connecticut are CCAR’s Recovery Coach training program, Advocacy Unlimited’s RSS program, and Hartford Healthcare’s RSS program. 

I have questions that were not answered here - why?

The Advisory Committee will address a number of questions that remain. As the process evolves, the frequently asked questions will be updated.

Two Town Hall meetings were held via online platforms on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 at 12:00pm and Monday, January 31, 2022 at 6:00pm.  A total of over 200 people attended these forums!  Feedback from both forums is being gathered and processed and some form of “report-back” will be generated.  Please check back for updated information.

 

Subject Matter Expert and Advisory Committee Selection Process and Results

Selection Committee members (alphabetical order by first name): Elsa Ward1, Karen Kangas2, Kimberly Guy3, Michaela Fissel4, Patricia Burke5, Rebecca Allen6. DMHAS administrative staff included: Ana Carolina Florence, Cheri Bragg and Chyrell Bellamy.

1: DMHAS; 2: Hartford Healthcare’s Recovery Leadership Academy; 3: Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health; 4: Advocacy Unlimited; 5: Gilead Community Services; 6: CCAR.

Process Description

The selection committee assisted the DMHAS Peer/Recovery Support Certification consulting group by reviewing and scoring applications for the Advisory Committee and the Subject Matter Expert roles, and made recommendations as to whom should be selected. The meeting took place on 03/16/2022. Recommendations were reviewed by the DMHAS Peer/Recovery Support Certification consulting group and applicants were informed about the results.

The selection process followed the steps outlined below:

  • The selection committee members signed a confidentiality agreement
  • The selection committee members received all applications and an instructions package to review and score applications
  • The selection committee members sent in their scores
  • All received scores were tabulated and a final consolidated score was created for each applicant
  • Applicants were ranked according to score and the top 10 were selected
  • The selection committee met with the DMHAS Peer/Recovery Support Certification consulting group on 03/16/2022
  • The group discussed all the applicants who were NOT selected first and reached consensus
  • This was done for both AC and SME applications
  • Next, the group discussed demographics, other experiences, reviewed selected resumes/CVs and individual applications
  • Final application scores were then combined with balanced representation including age, gender, race/ethnicity, lived experience MH/SU, LGBTQ+, previous work experiences
  • The group reached consensus and the following applicants were selected (in alphabetical order by first name):

 

AC Selected Applicants

Barbara-Ann Janice Tuozzolo

John Tejada

Juan Torres

Lyne Stokes

Michael Lonergan

Miranda Bishop

Nicole Hampton

Tracie Compositor

 

SME Selected Applicants

Claire Bien

Daniel W Smith

Jennifer Tirado

Jonathan Steinen

Kelvin Young

Latosha R Taylor

Maysha Zakrevskyy

Melissa Dzierlatka

Moe Armstrong

Stacy Charpentier

Theo Pinnow

Tonya Cutler