Family Support Specialist Competency Course

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Family Support Specialists draw on their lived experience to serve and support children and families facing challenges associated with emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs. The Coalition celebrates the power of peer support, focuses on the needs of family support specialists, provides support, training, job opportunities and provides an arena for your collective voice.

The Family Support Specialist Coalition, led by Tennessee Voices, is a coalition to promote statewide connection and resources sharing among Family Support Specialists.



Certification Criteria:

Definition of a CFSS:

A Certified Family Support Specialist (CFSS) is a person who has self-identified as the caregiver of a child or youth with an emotional, behavioral or co-occurring disorder and who has successfully navigated the child-serving systems to access treatment and resources necessary to build resiliency and foster success in the home, school, and community. This individual has successfully completed training recognized by TDMHSAS on how to assist other caregivers in fostering resiliency in their child, based on the principles of resiliency and recovery.

Pre-requisite trainings:
NAMI Family Education Courses
TVC’s Parent-2-Parent Course

Required training:
Family Support Specialist Competency Course

Cost: $500,  Scholarships are available, please complete a Course Registration Form to determine Scholarship Eligibility.  Please click here to download the Course Registration Form.


1) Be at least eighteen (18) years of age or older;

2) Hold a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED);

3) Self-identify as being or having been the caregiver/family member of a child or youth with an emotional, behavioral, or co-occurring disorder;

4) Provide a statement of personal experience regarding navigating the child-serving systems as the caregiver/family member of a child or youth with an emotional, behavioral or co-occurring disorder;

5) During the last five (5) years, have actively participated for at least twelve (12) consecutive months in service planning, system navigation, and building resiliency for a child or youth;

6) Successfully complete the evidence-based and/or best practice training currently recognized by TDMHSAS

7) Successfully demonstrate mastery of the following competencies through testing and evaluation as required by one of the evidence-based and/or best practice Family Support Specialist Training Programs recognized by TDMHSAS

8) Have a minimum of six (6) months paid and/or volunteer work in a support capacity in any or all of the following roles: peer counselor, support group facilitator, family support provider, peer educator

9) Be under the direct supervision of a mental health professional.

10) Read, understand, and agree to the following: successful completion of approved training program, required competencies, paid or volunteer experience, CFSS scope of activities, CFSS code of ethics