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Your Voice Matters!
DMHAS’ Office of Recovery Community Affairs is defining its vision and strategy
for the next three years and we want to hear from you.
Please complete the Voices of an Inclusive Recovery Community survey by November 15th.

 The Office of Recovery Community Affairs (ORCA)

This office acts a liaison for people who may identify with having mental health and/or addiction challenges, their families, friends and allies, as well an information and resource guide to all providers.

Our goal is to inform people of our Initiatives, Services and Resources that are offered by DMHAS and DMHAS-funded agencies throughout the state.

ORCA endorses the ‘No Wrong Door’ motto for recovery and encourages people to find the pathway(s) that work best for them.

Elsa Ward, MS, CAC, Director, (860) 418-6989,

For issues regarding client rights and grievances contact William Pierce, 860-418-6933, or go to Client Rights and Grievances.


Upcoming Events: 

5/31/23 - Advancing Peer Support & Lived Experience Leadership: Spiraling Up into Leadership 


DMHAS ORCA Initiatives

State Peer Support Credentialing: 

DMHAS is in the process of developing a centralized Peer Recovery Certification. The goal is to ensure that one standardized set of Peer Principles, Core Competencies and Code of Ethics are endorsed statewide and is in alignment with what the State of Connecticut, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Association for Addiction Professionals National Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist (NCPRSS), and other states' best practices.


Frequently Asked Questions/Answers (FAQ)


Scheduled Meeting Dates: 9/28, 10/12, 11/9 & 12/14/22; 1/11 & 2/8/23 from 5:30-7pm.

Disclaimer: These meetings were recorded for the Connecticut Peer Recovery Support Certification Advisory Committee under a cooperative agreement between the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), the Office of Recovery and Community Affairs, the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH), and the Connecticut Certification Board (CCB). All material appearing in this presentation, except that taken directly from copyrighted sources, is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from DMHAS, PRCH, or the CCB. The citation of the source is appreciated. Do not reproduce or distribute this presentation for a fee without specific written authorization from DMHAS. This presentation was recorded and posted for the DMHAS website. At the time of this recording, Nancy Navarretta, M.A., LPC, NCC, was serving as the DMHAS Commissioner. The opinions expressed herein are the views of the individual members on the Connecticut Peer Recovery Support Certification Advisory Committee and do not reflect the official position of DMHAS, PRCH or the CCB, nor are they officially supported or endorsed. (11/2022)

The Advisory Committee Meetings were open to the public. Video of each meeting is posted below. 

Peer Certification Advisory Committee Meetings


DMHAS-endorsed Peer Recovery Support training centers:

Monthly Recovery Calendars:


CT Peer & Family Organizations


Peer Respite Town Hall Meetings

The Office of Recovery Community Affairs (ORCA) held two virtual Town Hall meetings in March 2022 to discuss Peer Respites and Soteria Houses. We invited two speakers with extensive experience in these models to present a comprehensive overview of Peer Respites and Soteria Houses, followed by a rich discussion between participants who joined the event. We are preparing a report summarizing the discussions which will be made public on this page. The videos of both presentations are available below.


Keris MyrickPeer Respites


Yana JacobsSoteria Houses


Here are some additional resources that may be useful:

Peer Respites 

This website was created by Live & Learn, Inc. to provide the public access to resources about peer respites in the United States. The resources available on include the criteria and definition of a Peer Respite, the Peer Respite Directory (updated in 2018), the Guidebook for Peer Support Program Self-Evaluation, and reports from the Peer Respite Essential Features Surveys conducted in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018, which document nationwide trends in organizational characteristics and policies. also hosts a repository of research on peer respites.”

Directory of Peer Respites - National Empowerment Center (

National Empowerment Center lists and describes many different models

Peer Respites Hold Promise for Reducing the System’s Reliance on Institutional Treatment - Mad In America

Piri Pono – a peer-led acute residential service in New Zealand | Centre For Public Impact (CPI)