Peer Programs Receive First Ever Accreditation

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Organizations in Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts accredited by Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services.

“Each of the five CAPRSS accreditees has demonstrated a commitment to providing quality, effective peer recovery support services,” said Tom Hill, program director, Faces & Voices of Recovery.

Five organizations have received full accreditation status for their peer recovery support services (PRSS) programs from the Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services (CAPRSS). In its first-ever round of awards, CAPRSS accredited: The Association of Persons Affected by Addiction (Dallas, TX); McShin Foundation (Richmond, VA); Minnesota Recovery Connection (Minneapolis, MN); PRO-ACT, a program of the Southeast Council of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA); and Stairway to Recovery Center, a program of Latino Health Institute (Brockton, MA).

“Each of the five CAPRSS accreditees has demonstrated a commitment to providing quality, effective peer recovery support services,” said Tom Hill, program director, Faces & Voices of Recovery.

Established in July 2013, CAPRSS is the only accrediting body in the US for recovery community organizations and other organizations offering addiction-related PRSS. A social enterprise of Faces & Voices of Recovery, CAPRSS’s mission is to identify and support excellence in the delivery of peer recovery support services. CAPRSS’ asset-based accreditation™ program helps emerging and established PRSS programs to build capacity and improves PRSS program performance by setting and measuring the achievement of standards.

The five organizations underwent a rigorous process as part of the pilot testing of newly released CAPRSS core standards. The process included a comprehensive self-assessment, a thorough document review and a two-day peer review site visit.

The programs were evaluated on specific standards that examined seven areas of the program: (1) culture and climate; (2) the ethical framework under which services are delivered; (3) the recruitment, selection, training and development of the peer workforce; (4) the training and development of staff who supervise peer workers; (5) organizational governance; (6) management systems, including fiscal and human resource management; and lastly, (6) core competencies related to providing peer support.

In recent years, addiction-related PRSS — distinct from clinical treatment and mutual aid support — have become an important part of the continuum of care for people seeking, stabilizing, and sustaining recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Peer recovery support services have become an important part of a recovery-oriented system of care, in which individuals and families can overcome alcohol and other drug problems to achieve better health, wellness and quality of life.

“CAPRSS accreditation focuses on the highest level of responsibility and accountability for providing quality and ethical peer services, wherever they are delivered — in community or off-site service settings, such as criminal justice, clinical treatment or primary care,” Hill said.

In January 2014 CAPRSS began fulltime operations with the hiring of Elizabeth Burden as its chief executive officer. CAPRSS will begin accepting applications for its next round of accreditation in early April from any organization or program providing PRSS.

“We are proud to have achieved this important milestone in awarding these first-ever accreditations,” Hill said. “We are thrilled to be at this stage after nearly three years of development work.”

CAPRSS’ development has been supported by the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Optum Health, Reckitt Benckiser, and Faces & Voices members.

For more information about CAPRSS and its accreditation process, go to


More About the Accredited Programs

Association of Persons Affected by Addiction (APAA): Organized by people from the Dallas, TX, recovery community, APAA works to educate all segments of the community about the nature of addiction and recovery, and to provide recovery support services to the individual, the family and to the recovery community. It partners with a variety of local organizations to provide recovery coaching, recovery support groups, telephone support, health and wellness classes, and social activities for the greater Dallas area. Read more at

McShin Foundation: Founded in 2004, the McShin Foundation is Virginia's leading non-profit, full-service Recovery Community Organization (RCO), committed to serving individuals and families in their fight against Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). While providing the tools for recovering individuals to create positive lifestyles, we aim to spread the word of recovery and educate families, communities, and government regarding SUDs as well as reduce the stigma attached to them. Read more at

Minnesota Recovery Connection: The Minnesota Recovery Connection’s mission is to strengthen the recovery community through peer-to-peer support, public education, and advocacy. MRC offers a wide range of peer support, including recovery coaching, telephone support, and wellness and recovery events. Read more at

Pennsylvania Recovery Organization Achieving Community Together (PRO-ACT): A program of The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, PRO-ACT is dedicated to educating its constituency and mobilizing its members to advocate for the recovery community. The initiative is working to reduce the stigma of addiction, ensure the availability of adequate treatment options and influence public opinion and policy regarding the value of recovery. PRO-ACT believes that long-term recovery from addiction is possible and that individual and families should have access to a wide spectrum of services and support that enhance the potential for all to achieve. Read more at

Stairway to Recovery: A program of the Latin American Health Institute, the Stairway to Recovery Center is a supportive beacon of light within the recovery community of southeastern Massachusetts. The center is a place that promotes and exemplifies hope for people in recovery, where peers are engaged in many aspects of recovery to gain the resources, skills and practical knowledge to improve their quality of life. Recovering peers are encouraged to get involved and bring ideas and suggestions that support the values of recovery. The Stairway to Recovery Center provides a safe and supportive atmosphere to improve and enhance development, helping one another as peers. We all have something to offer to the center as well as recovery as a whole, and at the Center opportunity to do so is given. Read more at

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Elizabeth Burden
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