Colorado Peer and Family Specialist

In 2016, a coalition of Colorado organizations, government agencies and peers, created the Colorado Peer and Family Specialist Certification (CPFS). The coalition formed the certification to advance the professional contributions of peers and family support specialists working in the fields of addiction treatment, recovery and mental health. The CPFS is intended to:

  • Establish and recognize basic standards for professional competence.

  • Establish and confirm the credibility of the peer profession with consumers, employers, funders, and the general public.

  • Ensure that peer credentials are based on experience and competencies as set by the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).


The most compelling reason to certify Colorado’s peer and family specialists is to ensure public safety. Qualified staff are an essential part of quality programs. Government agencies and community-based organizations that adopt and enforce practice standards through the requirement of credentialing assure appropriate and effective service delivery for the recipients of substance use disorder services.

The CPFS establishes a strong ethical code for recovery professionals that protects consumers of services from other forms of professional misconduct, such as misappropriation of funds, misrepresentation of credentials, conflicts of interest, and discrimination. All professionals holding the CPFS must obtain ethics-specific training and agree to adhere to a code of ethics.

Professional certification for Colorado’s peers and family advocates also improves accountability for public expenditures by ensuring that publicly funded programs utilize peers who demonstrate proficiency with competency-based standards. This increases the likelihood that public funds spent in service delivery will be used for programming that is research- and evidence-based and that offer reasonable hope of affecting the populations being served in a positive way.

The CPFS aligns practice with the rapid advancements in the field, keeping pace with newly available data. As the professions have grown, training requirements for certification have become more rigorous. Meeting standards for certification insures that practitioners meet competency benchmarks.

Peers and family advocates gain significant benefits by achieving and maintaining a CPFS. Not only are they able to demonstrate practice competencies in their daily work, but they become part of an international cadre of advocates for quality service delivery. Through the continuing education required for renewal of certification, practitioners are able to maintain their knowledge, skills and abilities while staying abreast of new and emerging trends in the field. Continued skill development often leads to an enhanced career standing and the potential for greater advancement.

To learn more and to apply for your Peer Certification visit Colorado Peer and Family Specialist Credential

Reimbursement scholarships are available for those seeking to obtain their certification. Find out more and apply for reimbursement by clicking here.