National Initiative for Parent Support Providers

Vol. 1. No. 1: 4/26/2010 National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health 9605 Medical Center Drive, Suite 208, Rockville, MD 20850; Telephone 240-403-1901; Fax 240-403-1909


National Initiative for Parent Support Providers

A program of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health

At the December 2009 Annual Conference, the National Federation of Families officially launched its Initiative to standardize family peer support, the mantel of the children’s mental health family movement for two decades. This is the first in a series of Updates to publically disseminate information all stakeholders of our progress.

The Job Title: Parent Support Providers

Nationwide, there is a broad and diverse selection of job titles and job descriptions for those providing peer support to caregivers raising children with emotional, mental, and behavioral needs. You can read more about the process undertaken to arrive at the title used by this Initiative

Parent Support Provider,

by logging onto and going to Initiatives/National Initiative for Parent Support Providers.

Jumping Conundrums

Since the inception of our work on this topic, more than 3 years ago, a number of conundrums have jumped up and screamed for attention. (According to Merriam-Webster’s On-line Dictionary, a conundrum is an intricate and difficult problem.) In this space, we will occasionally address one of these conundrums with our most current thinking. We believe it is important that our work, our motivations, and our underlying assumptions be transparent. And, it is critical that we grapple very carefully with these conundrums.

Conundrum: “The lived experience of being a family member is what is important. We don’t need additional requirements.”

Our current thinking about this conundrum:

1. Without standardized criteria, too many people are filling these roles who are not actually family members

2. Standardization and Certification of PSPs will add a level of protection of families receiving services

3. The practice will be elevated to a level of accountability that encourages reimbursement and validates this as a real job category

Terms for the Initiative

The following words are often used as if they are interchangeable, but for the purposes of this Initiative, we are using the following understandings of these terms.


a formal procedure by an accredited entity that verifies the qualifications of an individual based on pre-determined standards and assessment procedures (as in the National Federation certifying individuals as Parent Support Partners)


a formal procedure by a credentialing entity that verifies the qualification of an organization based on pre-determined standards and assessment procedures (as in the National Federation being accredited to certify Parent Support Partners)


an overarching term that refers to the awarding of a document attesting to certain stated facts

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