• Lynda Cohen

Atlantic County gets first training for certified peer recovery specialists

Updated: May 21

Recovery Force of Atlantic County is the first in the state now licensed to train credentialed peer specialists. The Brigantine-based center founded by Robert Catalano Jr., has partnered with the Hansen Foundation to form what it called “the premier model” for recovery support success. “Developing a complete recovery community and workforce of peers with lived experience is the only way to create a long-term model that keeps treatment where it is but surrounds it with an immense recovery community doing peer specialist work as part of that,” Catalano said. “We identified several peer groups for specialized Recovery Force peer support programs, including peers in recovery from substance use disorders and mental illness, parents and family members of those peers, people in recovery who have successfully navigated re-entry from incarceration.” The training is 46 hours, delivered over an eight-week period. That, combined with 500 hours of experience, will lead to certification by the state as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, or CPRS. Recovery Force plans to hire many of those who get certified in both paid and volunteer positions. They will give pre- and post-treatment support to individuals and their families. Addiction is a chronic disease, whose treatment doesn’t work when there is nothing leading up to it and nothing after it, Catalano said. “Recovery Force and The Hansen Foundation is a perfect marriage for the recovery community, as —between both organizations — we offer a full long-term continuum of treatment and support, including all levels of care,” he said. “Recovery Force still intends to equally assist all local treatment programs and is not endorsing one treatment provider over another.” The partnership instead “is based  on developing, piloting and perfecting the use of peer recovery support prior to, during and following treatment,” Catalano added. “The Hansen Foundation’s commitment to recovery support is historic and predates their treatment. Actually and philosophically, we are birds of a feather. We serve the recovery community – not recovery providers.” The first training class starts Jan. 27 in Enlightened Cafe Backroom, 6414 Ventnor Ave. in Ventnor. Cost is $850. For more details or to sign up, go here: www.hansenfoundationnj.org/cprs-certified-peer-recovery-specialist

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