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CPSP Certification: Frequently Asked Questions

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General Frequently Asked Questions About Certification

  1. What is certification?
  2. Why National Certification?
  3. What training is required?
  4. In my state we use a different title than Parent Support Provider, will we have to change the name?
  5. Will there be more than one type of certificate , will we have to change the name?
  6. What is a Certified Parent Support Provider™?
  7. What is the definition of "parent support"?
  8. What is the definition of "parent" for the person who applies for a parent support certificate?
  9. How will I show that I am or was a "parent"?
  10. What if I am not a parent?
  11. When will the application be available?

 

Frequently Asked Questions About the PSP Certification Exam

  1. Who is eligible to apply?
  2. Do I have to take a test?
  3. When is the application due?
  4. When will I find out if I have been approved to take the test?
  5. When and where will the test be given?
  6. What if I don’t pass the test?
  7. What is the certification fee?
  8. Are scholarships available for the fee?
  9. How long can I use the CPSP after my name?  Will I need to renew the CPSP credential?
 
General

1. What is certification?

Certification is the process through which an individual voluntarily submits his/her credentials for review based upon clearly identified competencies, criteria, or standards. The primary purpose of certification is to ensure that people employed in any state in this field, meet high standards of performance.

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2. Why National Certification?

  • Some states offer certification for individuals providing family or parent support. National certification is necessary to provide portability throughout all the states. National certification:
  • Ensures uniformity of core knowledge by practitioners,
  • Endorses continuing professional development and credibility,;
  • Advances uniform standards and scope of practice
  • Promotes ethical practice,
  • Endeavors to protect the consumer, and
  • Provides recognition of specialty certification, such as wraparound, youth-in-transition to adulthood, cognitive disabilities.

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3. What training is required?

Training is available at the local and state level.  Contacting family organizations in your area would be the first step in locating local training.  The Certification Commission for Family support cannot provide training since it sets the standard (content and passing score) for the competencies and testing of CPSP.  It would be a conflict of interest for the Certification Commission for Family Support to do training that is mandatory for certification since the Certificaiton Commission for Family Support sets and enforces the standard for the content of training and uses it to develop the test items.

The National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health will continue to host a national conference, PSP Institutes, Policy Day, webinars and specialized training that provides training supplemental to local and state level training.  The National Federation or other organizations may also develop applicable curricula or trainings.

The Certification Commission for Family Support defines the necessary content and competencies for the CPSP. There is no list of "approved training or educational programs".  Each applicant is responsible for providing documentation show which competency was met by a training or educational event. Applicant may contact the Certification Commission for Family Support's office about specific documentation concerns.

In the future, the Certification Commission for Family Support may develop an independent mechanism for approving training programs.  In the meantime, any training program may prepare individuals to reach identified competencies. Currently the areas of training are:

  • Effective use of lived experience
  • Listening skills and cultural competence
  • Confidentiality and ethics (including the Code of Ethics)
  • Effective assertive written and verbal communication
  • Mentoring leadership in others
  • Cultural diversity and the use of family-driven and youth guided resiliency/recovery oriented approach to emotional health
  • Current issues in children’s developmental, emotional, behavioral (including substance use) or mental health
  • Parenting for resiliency and wellness
  • Coaching for personal change and crises prevention
  • Development and use of community resources, including natural support
  • Advocacy across and within systems (education, health, public benefits, behavioral health etc)
  • Data collection, evaluation & achieving outcomes
  • Networking

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4. In my state we use a different title than Parent Support Providers, will we have to change the name the organization uses?

Parent Support Providers is a title used for national certification and is intended to be broad enough to encompass all state and local titles. Very few states actually use the name Parent Support Provider. We know that the work is done under many titles throughout the United States and internationally. Some examples are Parent Partner, Family Partner, Youth Partner, Family Support Partner, Peer Navigator, Parent Navigator, Family Navigator, Family Systems Navigator, Youth Navigator, Peer Advocate, Parent Advocate, Family Advocate, Youth Advocate, Peer Support Specialist, Parent Support Specialist, Family Support Specialist, Youth Support Specialist and Coach. With National Certification, workers will still be able to use the local or state title. The certification will be for a Parent Support Provider.

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5. Will there be more than one type of certificate, will I have to change the name or title I use everyday?

Yes, the first certificate will be the service of providing support for parents and caregivers who have children and youth who experience emotional,  developmental, behavioral, substance use, or mental health disorders. Other certifications will include supervisor,  youth-to-youth, and sub-specialties, such as, wraparound. 

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6. What is a "Certified Parent Support Provider"?

A Certified Parent Support Provider™ is a person who can articulate lessons learned from his/her own lived experience parenting a child (youth or emerging adult) and has specialized training to assist and empower families raising children (youth and emerging adults) who experience emotional, developmental, behavioral, substance use,  or mental health concerns. A Certified Parent Support Provider™ partners with child and family serving systems to improve family outcomes and strives to eliminate stigma and discrimination. The work that is done by a CPSP is detailed in the formal Job Task Analysis that was completed for the Certification Commission for Family Support in 2011.

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7. What is the definition of "parent support"?

The focus of the service is on empowering parents and caregivers to parent and advocate for their child/youth with emotional, developmental, behavioral, substance use, or mental health concerns. The scope of the service involves assisting and supporting family members to navigate through multiple agencies and human service systems (e.g. basic needs, health, behavioral health, education, social services, etc). It is strength-based and established on mutual learning from common lived experience and coaching that

  • promotes wellness, trust and hope,
  • increases communication and informed decision making and self-determination,
  • identifies and develops advocacy skills,
  • teach or coach parenting, self-care and wellness/recovery skills,
  • increases access to community resources and the use of formal and natural supports, and
  • reduces the isolation that family members experience and the stigma of emotional, behavioral and mental health disorders.

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8. What is the definition of "parent" for the person who applies for CPSP?

Parent is a person who is parenting or has parented a child experiencing emotional, developmental, behavioral, substance use or mental health concerns and can articulate the understanding of their experience with another parent or family member. This person teaches, coaches, and mentors other persons to feel empowered and capable of advocating for themselves, their family, and their child's (youth and emerging adult) needs.  This person may be a birth parent, adoptive parent, family member standing in for an absent parent or a person chosen by the family or youth to function in the role of parent.

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9. How will I show that I am or was a parent?

The application form has questions requesting this information. You will be asked to explain your experience and the lessons learned  from those experiences.  You will also need to provide documentation from the local or state family organization familiar with information about your ability  to articulate parenting lessons learned.

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10. What if I am not a "parent"?

The difference this service makes is directly attributable to the sharing of "lived experience" and the lessons learned from that "lived experience". The benefit is in the articulation and the mutuality of the experiences. It is in this context that coaching, teaching, and mentoring is done. The applicant for certification must be able to articulate the basis for their being able to share feelings, experiences and lessons learned similar to the peer to whom they are offering support. In some cases, the lived experience may have been acquired some other manner than as a "parent". If so, the applicant will need to describe the basis for this exceptional circumstance.

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11. How is the application be available?

The current application is available on-line or by calling the Certification Commission office. It is important that you complete the current application and not one from a prior year since documentation requirements may have changed. 

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PSP Certification Exam

1. Who is eligible to apply?

The basic eligibility includes the lived experience of parenting a child with emotional, developmental, substance use, behavioral, or mental health challenges plus 88 contact hours of training, and 1000 hours of work (paid or unpaid) experience delivering peer level support to other similarly situated parents. Specific documentation requirements will be in the application packet and detailed in the Candidate Handbook under "Apply for CPSP certification" page..

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2. Do I have to take a test?

Yes, passing the national exam is required for certification. You will be authorized to take a written computer-based examination once you have met the eligibility criteria of lived experience, training, work experience, and agreement of adherence to the Code of Ethics.  The test is available all year long at sites throughout the United States and its territories, Canada and internationally through www.pearsonvue.com/cpsp.

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3. When is the application due?

The applications can be submitted year around because the test is available all year long.. The Certification Commission accepts applications by regular mail or as one e-mailed PDF document. Allow one week for processing the application.

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4. When will I find out if I have been approved to take the test?

The applicants who meet eligibility criteria will receive e-mailed and regular mail authorization generally within one week after their submitted application is complete.  The authorization allows the applicant to schedule the test at a place, date, and time of their choosing within the following 90 days.

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5. When will the test be given?

The test is available all year around at testing sites in urban and rural areas.  In some locations the site is only available during working hours. Some sites have evening and weekend hours. Find your closest testing site at any time.

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6. What if I don’t pass the test?

Candidates who do not pass the examination may retake the exam two additional times (with a minimum period of 60 days between the exams). There is a  one-page CPSP Exam Retest Form in the Candidate Handbook that is available on-line at http://certification.ffcmh.org/apply The retest fee of $150. Once approved for retest, authorized candidates have up to sixty (60) days to take the exam. 

After three test attempts, the individual must wait a period of six (6) months before restarting the application process. This period allows the applicant time to adequately prepare for the retest and prevents over-exposure to the exam. Candidates must meet all eligibility requirements in effect at the time of any subsequent application.

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7. Why is the certification  fee?

The total certification fee for the initial three years is $350. This is the cost of processing the application, provision of a secure test site, on-going monitoring of the security and defensibility of the exam items, and monitoring and enforcement of the ethical conduct of individuals holding the CPSP certification.  It is a fee that is similar to other national certifications for similar work.

The non-refundable part is the $50 fee is for processing the application.  Once the application is complete, the applicant must submit the balance or the $300 fee in order to take the exam.  If the applicant receives a passing score, there is no additional fee for three years.

The fee supports the process of your certificaiton. The $350 fee covers testing and related administrative expenses, including subcontracts to psychometricians, for essential tasks and built-in securities to ensure a fair and valid exam. It covers 2 years until such time each PSP will need to re-certify. Recertification will not require a test and will therefore be a lower fee.

The past development of the exam or the preceding research was paid for by the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health and seed grants from SAMHSA, the American Institutes for Research, Magellan Health, OptumHealth, and other supporting individuals. 

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8. Are there scholarships for the fees?

Yes, Magellan Health Services began the tradition by awarding 31 partial scholarships in November 2011 to be used throughout 2012. Then, SAMHSA provided 20 scholarships in mid-2012.

There were two scholarships: one for North Carolina residents only and the other, without limitations, was provided by OptumHealth during 2013.  Both scholarships were available on a first come, first served basis.   Scholarships forms are found on this website alongside with the certification application forms at www.certification.ffcmh.org/apply.

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9. How long can I use the CPSP after my name?  Will I need to renew the CPSP credential?

Recertification is required within three (3) years.  Recertification does not not require taking a second exam.  It does require providing documentation of continuing education or training according to the required competencies and on-going peer services supervision.  Recertification fee for a three year period is $200.  Recertification requirements can be found in the "2013 Candidate Handbook" on page 27 (found at http://ffcmh.org/sites/default/files/2013%20Candidate%20%20Handbook_0.pdf).  Please email all recertification materials to certification@ffcmh.org.

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