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Peer Specialist

Competency-Based Apprenticeship
Sponsoring Company:
Staten Island Performing Provider System
O*Net Code
Rapids Code
Req. Hours
Jul 16, 2021
Jul 16, 2021

Competency-Based Skills

18 skill sets | 104 total skills
Understands Peer Role
Has recovery experience as an individual who identifies as a person being in recovery from a substance use disorder.
Has occupational experience as a peer, and/or other substance use disorder behavioral healthcare experience.
Has completed the core substance use disorder peer training.
Engages peers in collaborative and caring relationships
Initiates contact with peers
Listens to peers with careful attention to the content and emotion being communicated
Reaches out to engage peers across the whole continuum of the recovery process
Demonstrates genuine acceptance and respect
Demonstrates understanding of peers’ experiences and feelings
Provides support
Validates peers’ experiences and feelings
Encourages the exploration and pursuit of community roles
Conveys hope to peers about their own recovery
Celebrates peers’ efforts and accomplishments
Provides concrete assistance to help peers accomplish tasks and goals
Shares lived experiences of recovery
Relates their own recovery stories, and with permission, the recovery stories of others’ to inspire hope
Discusses ongoing personal efforts to enhance health, wellness, and recovery
Recognizes when to share experiences and when to listen
Describes personal recovery practices and helps peers discover recovery practices that work for them
Personalizes peer support
Understands his/her own personal values and culture and how these may contribute to biases, judgments and beliefs
Appreciates and respects the cultural and spiritual beliefs and practices of peers and their families
Recognizes and responds to the complexities and uniqueness of each peer’s process of recovery
Tailors services and support to meet the preferences and unique needs of peers and their families
Supports recovery planning
Assists and supports peers to set goals and to dream of future possibilities
Proposes strategies to help a peer accomplish tasks or goals
Supports peers to use decision-making strategies when choosing services and supports
Helps peers to function as a member of their treatment/recovery support team
Researches and identifies credible information and options from various resources
Links to resources, services, and supports
Develops and maintains up-to-date information about community resources and services
Assists peers to investigate, select, and use needed and desired resources and services
Helps peers to find and use health services and supports
Accompanies peers to community activities and appointments when requested
Participates in community activities with peers when requested
Provides information about skills related to health, wellness, and recovery
Educates peers about health, wellness, recovery and recovery supports
Participates with peers in discovery or co-learning to enhance recovery experiences
Coaches peers about how to access treatment and services and navigate systems of care
Coaches peers in desired skills and strategies
Educates family members and other supportive individuals about recovery and recovery supports
Uses approaches that match the preferences and needs of peers
Helps peers to manage crises
Recognizes signs of distress and threats to safety among peers and in their environments
Provides reassurance to peers in distress
Strives to create safe spaces when meeting with peers
Takes action to address distress or a crisis by using knowledge of local resources, treatment, services and support preferences of peers
Assists peers in developing advance directives and other crisis prevention tools
Values communication
Uses respectful, person-centered, recovery-oriented language in written and verbal interactions with peers, family members, community members, and others
Uses active listening skills
Clarifies their understanding of information when in doubt of the meaning
Conveys their point of view when working with colleagues
Documents information as required by program policies and procedures
Follows laws and rules concerning confidentiality and respects others’ rights for privacy
Supports collaboration and teamwork
Works together with other colleagues to enhance the provision of services and supports
Assertively engages providers from mental health services, addiction services, and physical medicine to meet the needs of peers
Coordinates efforts with health care providers to enhance the health and wellness of peers
Coordinates efforts with peers’ family members and other natural supports
Partners with community members and organizations to strengthen opportunities for peers
Strives to resolve conflicts in relationships with peers and others in their support network
Promotes leadership and advocacy
Uses knowledge of relevant rights and laws (ADA, HIPAA, Olmstead, etc.) to ensure that peer’s rights are respected
Advocates for the needs and desires of peers in treatment team meetings, community services, living situations, and with family
Uses knowledge of legal resources and advocacy organization to build an advocacy plan
Participates in efforts to eliminate prejudice and discrimination of people who have behavioral health conditions and their families
Educates colleagues about the process of recovery and the use of recovery support services
Actively participates in efforts to improve the organization
Maintains a positive reputation in peer/professional communities
Promotes growth and development
Recognizes the limits of their knowledge and seeks assistance from others when needed
Uses supervision (mentoring, reflection) effectively by monitoring self and relationships, preparing for meetings and engaging in problem-solving strategies with the supervisor (mentor, peer)
Reflects and examines own personal motivations, judgments, and feelings that may be activated by the peer work, recognizing signs of distress, and knowing when to seek support
Seeks opportunities to increase knowledge and skills of peer support
Recovery Orientation
Understands the importance of instilling hope, often facilitated through appropriate self‐disclosure, and mutuality. Supervisor defines appropriate self‐disclosure.
Uses person‐first language while simultaneously acknowledging the value of the substance use disorder recovery identity (“addict” and “alcoholic”) for those who choose their own terms of self‐identification.
Promotes self‐determination avoiding the culture of diagnosis and labeling.
Supports concepts of self‐efficacy and empowerment.
Honors client choice, many pathways to recovery, self‐direction, and person‐centered recovery planning.
Supports fostering independence versus dependence, including employment assistance and overcoming barriers to independent living.
Recognizes recovery capital/assets, natural supports, inclusion of family, friends and allies, and a strengths‐based approach to supporting recovery.
Recognizes the imperative of addressing discrimination, oppression, and stigma, and its transformative power in recovery.
Acknowledges the importance of client advocacy and that peer staff are “in” but not “of” the system.
Supports informed consent and client choice regarding the use of behavioral health medications. Supervisor assists peer staff in maintaining neutrality regarding prescribed behavioral health medications and the importance of operating within scope of practice.
Understands that recovery support services are non‐linear services, occurring pre‐treatment, during treatment, and post‐treatment. For some, Peer Delivered Services could also be an alternative to professional treatment, particularly those with low to moderate problem severity and moderate to high recovery capital.
Recognizes that individuals receiving peer services are active agents of change in their lives and not passive recipients of services.
Recognizes the importance of addressing Trauma, Social Inequity & Health Care Disparity
Recognizes the consequences of trauma on individuals, families and communities, including, but not limited to: physical health, psychological health and well‐being, occupational performance, and parenting. Supervisor recognizes the consequences of institutional and societal trauma and its impacts on social determinants of health.
Understands models of trauma‐informed care and best practices for varied populations. Supervisor assist peers in developing skills to express empathic understanding and validate traumatic experiences, oppression, institutional, and judicial bias experienced by vulnerable populations that have been historically stigmatized and marginalized.
Recognizes the traumatic challenges faced by vulnerable populations (poverty, ethnic/cultural minorities, sexual minorities, disabilities, homelessness, military experience, or other vulnerabilities).
Aware of specific health care disparity data of vulnerable populations in the local community and local systems of care. Supervisor promotes health equity in multiple ways, including overcoming barriers to diversity within organizations and eliminating health disparities among behavioral health populations.
Cognizant of his or her own biases and the institutional biases within organizations in which they work.
Promotes trauma awareness among peer staff, peer‐delivered services programming, and the greater behavioral health system in which they work.
Addresses discrimination, stigma, and shame experienced by vulnerable populations, creating and promoting a culture of safety within the agency and peer‐delivered services environment.
Ongoing Training
Has the capacity to provide education and ongoing coaching on a variety of topics, and understands basic principles of adult learning strategies.
Designs and implements ongoing education in staff meeting formats, agency in‐services, and individual instruction/coaching as indicated.
Provides ongoing education/training/coaching regarding: documentation standards and data entry systems, motivational enhancement techniques/micro‐skills, outreach, engagement, rapport‐ building, peer competencies (SAMHSA, IC&RC, etc.), regulations, legal compliance, ethics, professional boundaries, cultural awareness, self‐care, and community resources.
Supports peer staff in obtaining ongoing training to advance their personal efficacy and competencies in delivering peer support services through participation in classes, conferences, webinars, and other forms of education and training.
Professional System Navigation
Assists peer staff in understanding the etiquette, procedures, and legal obligations for cooperative working relationships with Child Welfare. Supervisor orients peer staff to their role within the child welfare system: family court, case workers, protective services, foster care, ASFA timelines, termination of parental rights, alternate plans, limitations to confidentiality, and completing appropriate documentation for child welfare agencies.
Assists peer staff in understanding the etiquette, procedures, and legal obligations for cooperative working relationships with Courts, Probation, and Parole. Supervisor will orient peer staff to their role and participation within courtroom proceedings, the Department of Corrections, forensic peer services, court expectations, common violations, limitations of confidentiality and completing appropriate documentation required by to probation/parole and the courts.
Assists peer staff in understanding the etiquette and procedures for cooperative working relationships with various entitlement programs. Supervisor orients peer staff to self‐sufficiency services (employment services, Vocational Rehabilitation, Medicaid enrollment, TANF, SNAP, WIC, Assurance Wireless, etc.) and regulatory compliance issues involved in working with these services.
Assists peer staff in understanding the etiquette, procedures, and legal obligations for cooperative working relationships with addiction treatment. Supervisor orients peer staff regarding the nature of addiction treatment services, expectations, legal compliance, treatment completion status, abstinence requirements/court orders, DUI, DMV completion certificates, addiction treatment client rights, urine drug testing, other drug screening, and consequences of non‐attendance/substance use.
Assists peer staff in understanding the etiquette, procedures and legal obligations for cooperative working relationships with traditional mental health institutions. Supervisor orients peer staff to the nature of traditional mental health services, involuntary commitment, social security disability, payee services/representative payees, mental health client rights, the use of psychiatric medications, and abusable medications (anxiolytics, ADHD medications), and client choice regarding medications.
Assists peer staff in understanding the etiquette, procedures, and legal obligations for cooperative working relationships with Medication Assisted Treatment services. Supervisor orients peer staff to the nature of Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone, Suboxone, Vivitrol, addiction treatment client rights, anticipated effects from changes in medication dosage, ADA protections, and outcome research supporting the use of MAT.
Assists peer staff in understanding the etiquette, procedures and legal obligations for cooperative working relationships with primary care providers. Supervisor orients peer staff regarding the nature of primary care services, scope of practice regarding medicine and medical advice, pretreatment peer support, and HIPAA.
Audits peer staff documentation to allied health care and governmental agencies and coach peers with writing skills and documentation practices appropriate to circumstances and congruent with client rights and protections.
Applicable Laws & Regulations
Advises peer staff regarding the applicability of confidentiality regulations HIPAA and Code of Federal Regulation 42, Part II in their cases. Supervisor is available to discuss disclosures, releases of information, items to be discussed, responding to subpoenas and permissible disclosures within the exceptions to confidentiality (medical emergency, QSOA, crime on premises or against Peer Delivered Services program personnel, duty to warn, child/elder abuse, research, audit, court order, medical emergency), restrictions, and notice of prohibitions on re‐disclosure.
Advises peer staff regarding the applicability of Mandatory Reporting Guidelines and their obligations to report suspected child abuse.
Advises peer staff regarding the applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodations, and those participating in Medication Assisted Treatment as a protected class under the ADA.
Advises peer staff regarding the applicability of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the principles of non‐discrimination.
Advises peer staff regarding the applicability of Medicaid Fraud reporting, investigations, and legal consequences.
Advises peer staff regarding the applicability of the Fair Housing Act and protections for those participating in addiction and recovery services and those participating in Medication Assisted Treatment.
Monitors relevant service obligations specific to the contracts/conditions provided by funders including reporting criteria and schedules, service restrictions, special requirements, and respecting their legal and regulatory obligations.
Supports, advises, and develops policies regarding accommodations for those with other special needs, language barriers, literacy challenges, and other impediments.

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