Arkansas Peer Specialist Program

The Arkansas Peer Specialist Program (APSP) is an innovative three-tiered credentialing process that allows an individual the opportunity to progress through the core, advanced and supervision levels of The Arkansas Model. This process is designed to produce highly trained and knowledgeable peer specialists. The APSP is a collaborative effort between NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, and the State of Arkansas. This organized system will streamline each step of the credentialing process and allow users access to a one-stop shop for all their peer credentialing needs.

The Arkansas Model

The Arkansas Model has three levels allowing peer specialists to advance in their profession:

  1. Arkansas Core Peer Recovery Specialist (PR)
  2. Arkansas Advanced Peer Recovery Specialist (APR)
  3. Arkansas Peer Recovery Peer Supervisor (PRPS)
LEVEL DESCRIPTIONS, ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS, & APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Arkansas Core Peer Recovery Specialist (PR)

Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible to become an Arkansas Core Peer Recovery Specialist (PR), you must (1) have a GED or have graduated from high school, (2) have a minimum of two years of abstinence-based recovery from lived experience with substance use disorders and/or mental health disorder, and (3) have not committed a sexual offense or murder or have any active warrants.

How to become an Arkansas Core Peer Recovery Specialist (PR): 

STEP 1: Apply to the APSP PR Program

  • Meet the PR eligibility requirements
  • Apply to begin Core PR training by submitting a completed and signed PR application, all supporting documentation, and a $50 non-refundable application fee

STEP 2: Become a Peer in Training (PIT)

  • Once accepted into the program, complete the 30-hour core training and submit the training certificate to the APSP Manager
  • Be paired with a Peer Recovery Peer Supervisor (PRPS) and begin peer supervision.
  • Receive PIT confirmation letter from APSP Manager. 

STEP 3: As a PIT, complete the remaining required education and experience.

  • Complete an additional 16 education hours
  • Complete 500 experience hours (including 100 hours of domain-specific experience to be comprised of 25 hours of advocacy experience, 25 hours of ethical responsibility experience, 25 hours of mentoring/ education experience, and 25 hours or recovery/wellness experience)
  • Complete 25 hours of domain-specific peer supervision (individual/group)

STEP 4: Pass the PR credentialing exam

PR Application Instructions 

To apply to begin Core PR training, you must:

  • Submit a completed & signed PR application;
  • Pay a $50 non-refundable application fee;
  • Submit a copy of a GED, high school diploma, or higher level education diploma or transcript;
  • Attest to having a minimum of two years of abstinence-based recovery from lived experience with substance use disorders and/or mental health disorder (pg 8 of application);
  • Attest that you have read, understand, and will adhere to the Arkansas Peer Recovery Code of Ethics (pg 8 of application);
  • Submit a completed and signed reference evaluation (pg 6 of application); and
  • Submit a copy of a background check completed in the last 60 days (click here for instructions).

Apply Today!

Applicant must email completed and signed application, all supporting documentation, with payment of the non-refundable $50 application fee to Kyle Brewer, Peer Specialist Program Manager, at [email protected].

Processing timeline: All applications are reviewed by the APSP Manager and Arkansas Peer Advisory Committee once a month. 

Questions? Please contact Kyle Brewer, BS, PRPS, Peer Specialist Program Manager, at 703.741.7686 x148, 703.253.3548, or [email protected].

Arkansas Advanced Peer Recovery Specialist (APR)

Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible to become an Arkansas Advanced Peer Recovery Specialist (APR), you must have (1) a current Arkansas Core Peer Recovery Specialist (PR) state credential; and (2) have a minimum of two years of abstinence-based recovery from lived experience with substance use disorders and/or mental health disorder.

How to become a Arkansas Advanced Peer Recovery Specialist (APR): 

  • Hold a current Arkansas Core Peer Recovery Specialist (PR) state credential;
  • Apply to begin APR training by submitting a completed and signed APR application, all supporting documentation, and a $75 non-refundable application fee; 
  • Complete 35 education hours (including the 18-hour Advanced training);
  • Complete 500 experience hours (including 100 hours of domain-specifc experience to be comprised of 25 hours of advocacy experience, 25 hours of ethical responsibility experience, 25 hours of mentoring/education experience, and 25 hours or recovery/wellness experience);
  • 25 hours of domain-specific peer supervision (individual/group); and
  • Pass the APR credentialing exam.

Application Instructions 

To apply to begin APR training, you must:

Apply Today!

Applicant must email completed and signed application, all supporting documentation, with payment of the non-refundable $75 application fee to Kyle Brewer, Peer Specialist Program Manager, at [email protected].

Processing timeline: All applications are reviewed by the APSP Manager and Arkansas Peer Advisory Committee once a month. 

Questions? Please contact Kyle Brewer, BS, PRPS, Peer Specialist Program Manager, at 703.741.7686 x148, 703.253.3548, or [email protected].

Arkansas Peer Recovery Peer Supervisor (PRPS)

Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible to become an Arkansas Peer Recovery Peer Supervisor (PRPS), you must (1) hold a current Arkansas Advanced Peer Recovery Specialist (APR) state credential, (2) be currently employed as an APR, (3) have a minimum of 1-2 years of consistent employment as an APR, and (4)) have a minimum of three years of abstinence-based recovery from lived experience with substance use disorders and/or mental health disorder.

How to become a Arkansas Peer Recovery Peer Supervisor (PRPS): 

  • Hold a current Arkansas Advanced Peer Recovery Specialist (APR) state credential;
  • Apply to start your PRPS training by submitting a completed and signed PRPS application, all supporting documentation, and a $100 non-refundable application fee; 
  • Complete 40 education hours (including the 24-hour Supervisor training);
  • Complete 500 experience hours (including 250 hours of supervised work experience and 250 hours of providing supervision, 50 hours of which must take place under the supervision of a more experienced peer supervisor);
  • Complete 25 hours of peer supervision hours provided by NAADAC's Peer Specialist Program Manager and the Arkansas Peer Advisory Committee; and
  • Pass the PRPS state credentialing exam.

Application Instructions 

To apply to begin PRPS training, you must:

  • Submit a completed & signed PRPS application;
  • Pay a $100 non-refundable application fee;
  • Attest to having a minimum of three years of abstinence-based recovery from lived experience with substance use disorders and/or mental health disorder (pg 10 of application);
  • Attest that you have read, understand, and will adhere to the Arkansas Peer Recovery Code of Ethics (pg 10 of application);
  • Submit two completed and signed reference evaluations, one by professional and one by the PRPS assigned to you by the APSP (pgs 7-8 of application); and
  • Submit a copy of a background check completed in the last 60 days (click here for instructions).

Apply Today! 

Applicant must email completed and signed application, all supporting documentation, with payment of the non-refundable $100 application fee to Kyle Brewer, Peer Specialist Program Manager, at [email protected].

Processing timeline: All applications are reviewed by the APSP Manager and Arkansas Peer Advisory Committee once a month. 

Questions? Please contact Kyle Brewer, BS, PRPS, Peer Specialist Program Manager, at 703.741.7686 x148, 703.253.3548, or [email protected].

History of Peer Support in Arkansas

Before 2017, peer recovery was virtually non-existent in the state of Arkansas. Peers were only working in treatment centers where a lack of understanding of the unique role of peers led to inappropriate job descriptions and an underutilization of Peers. However, within a year, as the opioid epidemic grew exponentially, so did the peer recovery field.  Access to, and a demand for, Peer Support swept across Arkansas. Peer Specialists began to find employment in a variety of settings, including hospitals, jails, reentry centers, youth centers, the Division of Human Services, drug courts, recovery residencies, emergency departments, intensive outpatient, day treatment, recovery community organizations, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) clinics, health insurance providers, and veterans affairs (VA).

To help combat the opioid epidemic and overall rise in substance use and misuse, the U.S. government awarded financial assistance to states. This funding supported the development of the Arkansas Peer Model, developed by a small group of recovering individuals who envisioned change in the behavioral health system. The first Core training was facilitated by the Appalachian Consulting Group LLC., led by Ike Powell in January 2018. In April 2018, the state initiated certification courses for Peer Recovery Support Specialists and Core training leaders. Combining lived experience in recovery with education from state institutions, these courses became a cutting-edge model of peer recovery that is now known as the Arkansas Model.

In September 2018, peer specialists with a variety of pathways to recovery and experience in the behavioral health system gathered to develop the manual. Through collaboration with other professionals, they tailored a manual for a CORE training. The manual was adapted from the Appalachian Consulting Group and includes many of the same stories and strengths. Additionally, new sections focus on addiction recovery and mental health recovery. Through the training, peers explore the professional language of substance use disorders and the concept of addiction as disease. Furthermore, it includes practical exercises that prepare peers to act as change agents and advocates within their respective organizations.

In November 2018, 18 peer specialists became certified as trainers. Subsequently, the first Core training for the Arkansas Model was offered in March 2019. It included two separate classes for a total of 50 peers. Through its current efforts, Arkansas has identified the many different arenas and opportunities for workforce development to include the need for additional training to support seasoned Peer Specialists’ growth into a supervisory role. As the substance use Peer Specialist role is relatively new, the need for appropriate supervision is evident. Since the development of this SU Peer Support role in Arkansas the approach to supervision has been innovative and ever evolving. Currently, peer supervision has been provided outside the employing agency by a seasoned PS and within the organization by a clinician.

In July 2020, 10 seasoned peer specialists completed the Arkansas Peer Supervision training and became the first 10 PRPSs in the State of Arkansas. Peer specialist at any level (PIT/PR/APR) can now only have experience and supervision hours signed off on by PRPS. For the first time peers have a voice at every level of the process and contribute to all decisions made pertaining to peer support.


Questions?

Please contact Kyle Brewer, BS, PRPS, Peer Specialist Program Manager, at 703.741.7686 x148, 703.253.3548, or [email protected].