What is the role of the Certified Parent Peer Specialist?

The Role of the Certified Parent Peer Specialist is varied depending on the organization in which the CPPS works. They provide support and assistance to families with youth experiencing mental health and/or substance use concerns.


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

  • Uses their own family’s resiliency experience as a tool
  • Supports families they serve in recognizing and fostering their own resiliency
  • Provides information about resources relevant to their needs
  • Assists in identifying and supporting families navigating times of crisis
  • Facilitates family-directed services, goal-setting, and communicating effectively with 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
  • Navigating service and support systems
  • Encouraging and understanding the youth’s voice
  • Providing peer support through the sharing of their own parenting experience

Certified Parent Peer Specialists as Change Agents

The emerging Certified Parent Peer Specialist workforce in Wisconsin is composed of a number of strong and forward-thinking advocates. They demonstrate the ability to give voice to youth and families’ needs to work towards better services and environments for Wisconsin families. They have supported their own families in doing such work and are passionate and driven to bring that same level of advocacy to the workplace and families across the state.

The CPPS advocates for the voice of the family and youth within the rest of the support team. The CPPS recognizes the whole family as the ultimate expert in what will work best for themselves. The CPPS trusts and respects family decisions and advocates alongside them in order to ensure their needs are met in a family-directed manner.

One of the most important values of a CPPS is providing non-judgmental support to the families they serve. Oftentimes parents and families experience feeling shamed and judged by the systems they interface with and even the systems and agencies meant to support them directly. An effective CPPS serves as a validating and non-judgmental resource to a family as they navigate the system and foster their own resiliency.


What makes Wisconsin’s Certified Parent Peer Specialists Unique?

Certified Parent Peer Specialists recognized in the State of Wisconsin complete parent peer support training, examination, and continuing education requirements.

Wisconsin is one of the first states in the country to develop a formal certification for Parent Peer Specialists. This certification went into effect in 2018. Comparatively, the Wisconsin Certified Peer Specialist credential has existed since 2010. Certified Parent Peer Specialists are on the cutting edge of family support services in Wisconsin and the nation.

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.

These documents are central to the role of the Certified Parent Peer Specialist in Wisconsin. The training curriculum and examination coordinated by the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative is structured in such a way as to ensure a clear understanding of these documents and their application in the workplace.



Where They Can Be Employed

  • Within the Wisconsin Community Mental Health Programs
  • Comprehensive Community Services (CCS)
  • Children’s Long Term Support Waivers (CLTS)
  • Crisis Services
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI)
  • Non-Profit and Provider Organizations
  • Peer Recovery Centers
  • Parent-Run Organizations
  • Schools
  • Outpatient Settings
  • Inpatient Settings
  • Hospitals
  • Jails
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