What is the role of the Certified Parent Peer Specialist?

The Role of the Certified Parent Peer Specialist is varied and can take on several forms of support and assistance to families experiencing social, emotional, behavioral and/or substance use concerns of youth.

Certified Parent Peer Specialists in Wisconsin, like Certified Peer Specialists, are guided by and expected to work in accordance to a list of Core Competencies, a clearly defined Scope of Practice, and a Code of Ethics.

It is generally recognized that Certified Parent Peer Specialists provide the following services:

  • Uses their own family’s resiliency experience as a tool
  • Presents resiliency information
  • Provides information about social, emotional, behavioral, and/or substance use-related resources
  • Assists in identifying and supporting families in crisis
  • Facilitates family-directed services, goal setting, and communicating effectively with treatment providers


The primary purpose of certification is to ensure that people employed in Wisconsin as Certified Parent Peer Specialists meet high standards of performance and that they:

  • Create uniformity of core competencies of practitioners
  • Ensure professional development, continued education and supervision
  • Advance uniform standards, scope of practice and best practice
  • Promote ethical practice within the profession
  • Instill confidence with the families served
  • Allow employers to tap into expanded funding sources


While the role of a Certified Parent Peer Specialist will vary from one family to the next, it generally includes empowering those who are parenting by:

  • Increasing their knowledge and skills
  • Modeling behavior for others
  • Holding hope for change and growth
  • Assisting in advocacy and teamwork


Certified Parent Peer Specialists use their experiences to assist other parents with:

  • Navigating service and support systems
  • Encouraging and understanding the youth’s voice
  • Providing peer support through the sharing of their own parenting experience.


Frequently Asked Questions

When can I expect to receive my exam results?

CPS and CPPS State Certification Exam results will be mailed to you within 30 days of the exam. Please do not contact the WI Peer Specialist Employment Initiative requesting results during that time.

What should I expect on the day of the exam?

  • The CPS and CPPS State Certification Exams take place over the course of 3 hours, you are not required to stay for all 3 hours and may leave as soon as you are finished.
  • The exam will begin promptly at the designated time so please arrive 15 - 20 minutes early in order to check-in and insure you are ready to begin at the appropriate time.
  • All testing centers are fragrance free environments so please do not wear any perfume or cologne.
  • If you choose to bring your phone, tablet, laptop, or other electronic device, you will be asked to leave it with testing center staff for the duration of your time taking the exam.
  • If you choose to bring a purse, bag, backpack, or other personal carrying item, you will be asked to leave it with testing center staff for the duration of your time taking the exam.
  • We strongly recommend leaving these items at home when coming to take the exam.
  • No food or drink will be permitted while taking the exam.
  • No study materials will be permitted while taking the exam; however, you will be provided with a pen and paper should you feel the need to take notes. You will be asked to return both items to testing center staff after the exam.
  • You will be asked to complete a short survey after you complete the exam.

How do I apply and pay for the Wisconsin exam?

The exam application, exam dates, and deadline information are all located on the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education Wisconsin Peer Specialist Certification page. The application verifies that the application and payment must be postmarked by the specified deadline and sent to the below address:

UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education Gloria T. Lane 161 W. Wisconsin Avenue Suite 6000 Milwaukee, WI 53203-2602

Now that I’ve completed a training, how do I become officially certified as a Certified Peer/Parent Peer Specialist?

In order to become certified, you are required to pass the statewide exam conducted by the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education. Exams are separate from trainings, occur on specific dates throughout the year, and are completed online at the eight Independent Living Centers (ILCs) throughout Wisconsin. You may apply for an exam within one year of your training. Passing scores for the exam are 85% or higher. Those who wish to retake the certification exam must complete the retake application. For personal questions concerning the exam, please contact Peer Specialist Certification Program Manager Gloria T. Lane at 414-227-3352 or at UWM-PeerSpecialist@uwm.edu.

Is the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative currently seeking new trainers?

As of March 14th, 2019, the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative is not actively seeking to hire new trainers. This decision is subject to change in the future. Trainings associated with or labeled as ToT (Training of Trainers) are employment opportunities for applicants to become Certified Peer/Parent Peer Specialist training facilitators.

Does it cost anything to participate in a training?

A Certified Peer/Parent Peer Specialist training is free of charge for trainees. However, the certification exam, run through the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education, costs $50 to complete.

How do I know if I’ve been accepted into a training?

Once you have applied for a training, your application is reviewed and assessed by each trainer for that specific training. You will hear back within two weeks of the application due date whether you have been accepted to move on in the application process.

What if there is no training in my county region and I am interested in becoming a Certified Peer/Parent Peer Specialist?

Even if there is no current training for your county region, the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative and its partners will generally not accept applications from outside-county residents. The only exception for outside applicants to be accepted is if there is a shortage of applicants within the training's respective county region.

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