Support for Peer Partner Programs in California

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The Integrated Core Practice Model (ICPM),California Child Welfare Core Practice Model (CPM), Safety Organized Practice (SOP), the Structured Decision Making (SDM) tools, Child and Family Teams (CFTs), the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool, and System of Care for Children and Youth (SOC) all place the voices of children, youth, parents, family, community, and culture at the center of engagement, assessment, planning, service delivery, and transition practices and processes, at all levels, from support of individual families to the development of policies, programs, and training curriculum. Over the past decade, as child welfare, probation, and behavioral health agencies and community service providers have worked towards authentically engaging the voices of children, youth, parents, and families, the integration of peer partners into child and family serving programs has emerged as a central value and practice of engagement.

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Learn Why Engaging Lived Experience is Important!

“Lived experience” is defined as personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events rather than through representations constructed by other people. Alliance for Children’s Rights- Engaging Lived Experience Report

VIDEO: Voices of QPI: Why Youth and Parent Engagement is Important in Child Welfare Systems Change

VIDEO: Your Strength as a Parent Partner

Parent Partner Advisory Committee

The Resource Center for Family-Focused Practice initiated the Parent Partner Advisory Committee (PPAC) in 2013 in an effort to regularly convene a group of California parent partners (those with lived experience as parents navigating child welfare, probation or behavioral health) to make recommendations regarding training needs, practice guidelines, opportunities and resources. The PPAC vision is to have parent partners positively impacting every community. The PPAC has three goals:

  1. Increase resources for parent partners in California
  2. Promote leadership of past customers of child welfare, mental health, and juvenile probation services (or family serving public agencies)
  3. Provide meaningful and effective training and resources for parent partners in California

For more information on PPAC or to join PPAC, please visit:

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Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) Peer Support Services

In September of 2020, Senate Bill (SB) 803 was chaptered, requiring DHCS to seek federal approval to establish Peer Specialist as a provider type and to provide distinct peer support services under the SMHS and DMC-ODS programs.

While services provided by peers can currently be claimed under the provider type "other qualified provider" within the SMHS program, and recovery services provided by peers can be claimed within the DMC-ODS programs, DHCS is proposing to add peers as a unique provider type within specific reimbursable services and to allow counties to opt-in to provide this valuable resource. By July 1, 2021, DHCS will determine the peer certification standards in alignment with the provisions SB 803, and in accordance within CMS' guidance, have the new benefit in place by January 1, 2022.

For more information on the requirements for Peer Certification please visit CalMHSA

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Peer Partner Hubs

The Parent Partner Advisory Committee in collaboration with UC Davis’ Center for Family Focused Practice and the CDSS are proud to introduce the Peer Partner Hubs. The Peer Partner Hubs are a safe space for peer partners (including youth advocates and parent advocates) with lived experience in child and family-serving organizations to network and support one another, share information and learning opportunities, and provide feedback to organizations, counties, and CDSS for system improvement. Participation in the Peer Partner Hubs will enhance the ability of peer partners and the organizations for which they work to authentically engage with children and parents, further supporting the values and behaviors of the Integrate Core Practice Model and child and family teaming, assessing, planning, and service deliver. Peer partners from various child and family-serving systems are invited, including but not limited to child welfare, probation, and behavioral health.

For more information and to register, please visit:

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Contact Us:

California Department of Social Services
Children and Family Services Division
System of Care Branch
Family-Centered Practice Unit
744 P Street, MS 8-3-570
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-2752

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Peer Partner Links

Trainings and Consultation

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