LSF Health Systems has been awarded a competitive 4-year, $2.4 million grant to expand the number of peer and recovery support specialists providing behavioral health services to children whose parents are impacted by opioid use disorders (OUDs) and other substance use disorders (SUDs). The Northeast Florida Opioid-Impacted Family Support Paraprofessional (OIFSP) project will train more than 130 students over 4 years and offer both the Certified Recovery Peer Specialist (CRPS) and the Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) certificates. Partnering agencies include Clay Behavioral Health Center, Inspire to Rise, Inc., River Region Human Services, Inc., and Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare.
This represents LSF’s third grant awarded by HRSA to continue the expansion of its Peer Specialist training program. To date, LSF has trained more than 270 peers. The new grant offers an additional certificate track for those interested in focusing on substance use disorders (Certified Recovery Support Specialist track). In addition, the project includes a new apprenticeship program which will be the first of its kind in the state of Florida. “I am so proud that LSF Health Systems has led the state in training and placing Certified Recovery Peer Specialists. These professionals are an integral part of the treatment milieu,” said Dr. Christine Cauffield, CEO of LSF Health Systems.
At least 50% of the students who have completed their experiential learning hours will progress to the apprenticeship phase. The apprenticeship period will last at least 12 months, after which trainees will receive assistance securing employment working with children and youth whose parents or caregivers are impacted by opioids and other substance use disorder disorders.
“There is nothing more important to LSF than the families we serve. It is up to us as an organization and as a state to provide quality behavioral health services. Not only are the peers involved in this program gaining meaningful employment, but they are also playing an important role advocating on behalf of families seeking treatment,” says Samantha Lawson, LSF Health Systems’ Director of Training & Development. In response to the pandemic, our Training Institute quickly shifted gears to a virtual world to become one of the first in the state to provide the core Certified Recovery Peer Specialist (CRPS) curriculum, Helping Others Heal (HOH) using an online platform. Everyone worked quickly to facilitate a seamless transition from in-person teaching to virtual learning for a successful week of Peer training. Lawson says, “Our team’s passion and commitment to positive outcomes and a quality education and training program all come together to produce a successful recipe that helps communities impacted by the devastating opioid crisis.”