The new Community Based Flexible Supports (CBFS) Request for Response (RFR) has finally been released by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH)!
Of course, it’s no longer called CBFS. The new name will be Adult Community Clinical Services (ACCS), but regardless…The long awaited release of this RFR is an exciting moment for many of us working in peer support in Massachusetts. Why? Because we spent a great deal of time advocating for the state to better define peer roles for DMH contractors, and to do so in a way that held integrity and alignment with our core principles and Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) Code of Ethics.
We’re excited to report that our voice was heard! While, there is still much advocacy work to be done to change the mental health system in our state (and beyond), DMH incorporated many of our suggested changes in terms of how peer roles will be defined. This is huge because ACCS (formerly CBFS) is the largest contract that DMH funds, and so peer roles are defined clearly here, it has implications for everyone.
A quick highlight – Here’s the new inclusion about which we are most excited:
7.5 Peer Roles
Contractors must take appropriate steps to support Peer Staff in performing their unique roles and ensuring that job functions are consistent with the Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) and other applicable Code of Ethics.
a. MAP. Peer Staff do not participate in the Medication Administration Program and are not MAP trained. Peer Staff may support Persons with whom they are working with support in making decisions about medications when asked.
b. Representative Payee. Peer Staff do not serve as Representative Payees, including the delivery of funds or participating in any activities related to the control of a Person’s funds.
c. Documentation. Documentation completed by a Certified Peer Specialist is to be done in accordance with CPS training standards.
e. Supervision and Support of Peer Roles. Peer Specialists are supported in accessing opportunities for peer supervision, training and consultation.
These additions are a big deal, because we’ve been asking the state to take a stand against people in peer roles being involded with the administration of psychiatric drugs or rep-payeeships for a long time. We have also asked them to support people in peer roles to be able to do their jobs in accordance with the overal CPS Code of Ethics, and to help them draw lines in terms of documentation and anything else that enhances power differentials and damages the integrity of peer-to-peer support.
For a look back at the letter so many of us wrote to DMH in June asking for these changes, click HERE.