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National Certification for Parent Support Providers

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A Highly Regarded, Nationally Recognized Certification

The Certification Commission for Family Support is the only entity that provides national certification for Parent Support Providers. The Certification Commission, with the support of the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, is responsible for providing oversight to the development and administration of a credible CPSP certification. The independent Certification Commission ensures the credential meets high standards of ethical and professional practice for parent support services and the proficiency and competency of parent support providers. 

  • Defensible and reliable examinations
  • Increased value of the CPSP credential
  • Increased availability and recognition
  • Ability to defend and protect the CPSP credential
  • Increased security and confidentiality
  • Increased professional acceptance and marketability of the CPSP credential
  • Peer development and review with professional test development guidance

The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health collaborated with family organizations, researchers, and treatment providers to collect and organize information about the role of parent support services in Systems of Care and other settings. This Parent Partner Assessment Workgroup met regularly in 2009 and 2010. PPAW, through the National Federation then began developing national certification for Parent Support Providers in August 2010. The Certification Commission was created within the National Federation, with the support of parents and parent support providers from all states, territories and Canada. The first certificates were awarded in June 2012.

The Certified Parent Support Provider™ certification defines the uniform standards and title of parents helping other parents who have children (0-26) experiencing emotional, behavioral health, substance use, intellectual disabilities, or mental health concerns. Certification promotes ethical practice and creates mobility of workers across states. It brings to the workforce parents with experience in successfully helping their own children and increases the acceptance of this effective "modern and good" or best practice.

Parent Support Providers (CPSP™) can articulate their experience of parenting a child or teen experiencing emotional, developmental, behavioral, substance use, or mental health concerns, have received specialized training in helping other parents to understand children’s wellness and receive regular consultation from a parent/peer supervisor. In turn, they teach, coach, and mentor other parents/caregivers to be effective advocates for their own children (youth and emerging adults) and equal partners with professionals in the delivery of services and policy development. The overall goal is to decrease the stigma associated with behavioral health challenges and promote effective strength-based children’s services that are family-driven/youth-guided.

The outcome of using a CPSP™ is parents

  • Positively accessing and being engaged in the treatment and educational services for their child (youth or emerging adult),
  • Understanding children’s health and well-being,
  • Experiencing less parental stress,
  • Increasing the resiliency skills of their child,
  • Increasing the graduation rate of their student and
  • Reducing the use of expensive hospitalization and long-term residential treatment.

Additionally CPSP™ assists parents and youth to bring their family's voice to the planning and evaluation process of public and private services for children and youth.

To ensure availability of proper training, the Certification Commission has developed guidelines for achieving competency in the required ten domain: ethics, confidentiality, decision-making and effecting change, current issues in children’s behavioral health treatment and prevention information, educational information, communication, parenting for resiliency, multi-systems advocacy, wellness and natural support, empowerment, and the use of local resources. There is no current availability of certification for training programs and continuing education coursework.

The Certification Commission will develop at least three more national certification programs: Parent Support Provider Supervisors, Youth Support Specialists and Youth Support Specialist Supervisors. More information about the certification program can be found by calling 240-403-1901 or by emailing