CFPS Code of Ethics

Family Peer Specialists empower parents and caregivers to define and work toward goals that will improve wellness for their children, themselves and their families. Our Certified Family Peer Specialists (CFPSs) pledge to uphold the following values and principles in order to live out their ethical commitment as peers with lived experience.


The following are the Code of Ethics for the National Certification of Family Peer Specialists:

  1. Share my experience as a parent when it may help other family members

  2. Support other family members as peers with a common background and history rather than as experts who have all the answers

  3. Acknowledge that each family member’s answers may be different than mine

  4. Take responsibility for clarifying my role as a Certified Family Peer Specialist and as a parent of a child who experienced and/or is experiencing emotional, behavioral or mental health challenges

  5. Build partnerships with others who are involved in the care of our children

  6. Commit to honesty in all my interactions as a Certified Family Peer Specialist and expect the same from others

  7. Commit to a non-judgmental and respectful attitude in my dealings with and discussions regarding families

  8. Commit to a non-adversarial approach to advocacy in my role as a Certified Family Peer Specialist

In order to fulfill this pledge, Certified Family Peer Specialist agree to abide by the following principles, rules, and procedures:

Principle 1 – Integrity

In order to maintain high standards of competence and integrity, they:

  1. Apply the principles of resiliency, wellness and/or recovery, family-driven approach, youth-guided or youth-driven approach, consumer-driven approach and peer to peer mutual-learning principles in everyday interactions with family members

  2. Champion the family member’s ethical decision-making and personal responsibility consistent with that family member’s culture, values and beliefs

  3. Champion the family members’ voices and the articulation of their values in planning and evaluating children’s behavioral health related issues

  4. Teach, mentor, coach and support family members to articulate goals that reflect each family member’s current needs and strengths

  5. Demonstrate respect for the cultural-based values of the family members engaged in peer support

  6. Communicate information in ways that are both developmentally and culturally appropriate

  7. Empower family members they are assisting to be fully informed in preparing to make decisions and understand the implications of these decisions

  8. Maintain high standards of professional competence and integrity

  9. Abstain from discriminating against or refusing services to anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, religion/spirituality, culture, national origin, age, sexual orientation, marital status, language preference, socioeconomic status or disability

  10. Only assist family members whose concerns are within their competency as determined by their education, training, experience and on-going supervision/consultation

  11. Abstain from establishing or maintaining a relationship for the sole purpose of financial remuneration to themselves or the agency they are associated with

  12. Terminate a relationship when it becomes reasonably clear that the peer relationship is no longer the desire of the family member

Principle 2 – Safety

In order to maintain the safety of all family members involved with CFPS services, they:

  1. Comply with all laws and regulations applicable to the jurisdiction in which the peer support services are provided, including but not limited to confidentiality

  2. Maintain confidentiality in personal and professional communications and ensure that family members have authorized use or release of any and all information about themselves or family members for whom they have legal authority, including but not limited to verbal statements, writings or the re-release of documents

  3. Respect the privacy of the agencies with which they partner and refrain from distributing internal or draft documents or private or internal conversations

  4. Comply with all laws and regulations applicable to the jurisdiction in which peer support services are provided

  5. When complying with laws and regulations involving mandatory reporting of harm, abuse or neglect, make every effort to involve the family members in the planning for services and ensure that no further harm is done to family members as the result of the reporting

  6. Discuss and explain to family members the rights, roles, expectations, benefits and limitations of the peer support process

  7. Avoid ambiguity in relationships with family members and ensure clarity of their role at all times

  8. Maintain a positive relationship with family members, refraining from premature or unannounced ceasing of the relationship until a reasonable alternative arrangement is made for continuation of similar peer support services

  9. Abstain from engaging in intimate emotional or physical relationships with family members engaged in a peer support relationship

  10. Neither offer nor accept gifts related to the professional service of peer support, including but not limited to personal barter services, payment for referrals or other remunerations

  11. Abstain from engaging in personal financial transactions with family members engaged in a peer support relationship

Principle 3 - Professional Responsibility

Through educational activities, supervision and personal commitment, they:

  1. Stay informed on current research, policy and developments in the field of parent/peer support and children’s behavioral health which relates to their practice area and children’s general health and well-being

  2. Engage in helping relationships that include skill-building not exceeding their scope of practice, experience, training, education or competence

  3. Perform or represent themselves as competent to perform only peer services within their education, training, experience or competence

  4. Seek appropriate professional supervision/consultation or assistance for personal problems or conflicts that may impair or affect work/volunteer performance or judgment

  5. File a complaint with the NFFCMH when there is reason to believe that another Certified Family Peer Specialist is or has been engaged in conduct that violates the law or this code (Note: Making a complaint to the NFFCMH is an additional requirement, not a substitute for or alternative to any duty of filing report(s) required by statute or regulation.)

  6. Refrain from distorting, misusing or misrepresenting their experience, knowledge, skills or research findings

  7. Refrain from financially or professionally exploiting a colleague or representing a colleague’s work, associated with the provision of peer support or the profession of peer support, as their own

  8. In the role of a supervisor/consultant, be responsible for maintaining the quality of their own supervisory/consultation skills and obtaining supervision/consultation for work as a supervisor/consultant

  9. In the role of a researcher, be aware of and comply with federal and state laws and regulations, agency regulations and professional standards governing the conduct of research, including but not limited to ensuring the participants’ complete informed consent for participating or declining to participate in a study

  10. In the role as a volunteer member or employee of an organization, give credit to persons for published or unpublished original ideas, take reasonable precautions to ensure that their employer or affiliate organization promotes and advertises materials accurately and factually

Principle 4 - Certification Responsibilities

As Certified Family Peer Specialists, they:

  1. Remain current on fees

  2. Comply with Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics and Re-Certification requirements set by the NFFCMH

  3. Only use the “Certified Family Peer Specialist” CFPS credential or represent themselves as having that credential when in full compliance with the credentialing requirements

  4. Always utilize the “Certified Family Peer Specialist” CFPS designation appropriately

  5. Cooperate with any ethics investigation by any professional organization or government agency, and truthfully represent and disclose facts to such organizations or agencies when requested or when necessary to preserve the integrity of the peer support profession

  6. Comply with the NFFCMH’s requirements associated with the exclusive property rights to the content of its examinations, certificates, the name National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, the abbreviation CFPS, the term Certified Family Peer Specialist and all relating marks or abbreviations that may not be used in any way other than with the express prior written consent of the NFFCMH

  7. Immediately relinquish, refrain from using, and correct, at my expense, any and all outdated or otherwise inaccurate business cards, stationery, advertisements, or other use of any certificate, logo, emblem, and the NFFCMH name, marks and related abbreviations, in case the NFFCMH suspends, limits, revokes or otherwise accepts relinquishment of a CFPS credential bestowed upon them by the NFFCMH

  8. Notify the NFFCMH of any legal action with potential impact on the practice of peer support, including but not limited to: the filing in any court of an information, complaint, indictment, conviction, revocation of suspended imposition of sentence, revocation of probation/parole, filing of any charge or action before a state, tribal or federal regulatory agency or judicial body concerning the practice of peer support or related professions, or a matter before another certification body. Such notification shall be made within sixty (60) days of the filing of such charge or action, and they shall provide documentation of the resolution of such action within sixty (60) days of that resolution.

Have additional questions?

Please contact us at:


Tel: (240) 403-1901

© 2017 National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health

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