Grandparenting Process Preparation

CalMHSA is currently processing applications for peer workers referred by county mental health and/or substance use disorder programs (also referred to as Behavioral Health Plans).

Please allow 30 days for application processing.

Do I qualify if I am already a peer worker (volunteer or paid staff)?
California recognizes that peers have long functioned as a part of the prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery process for individuals living with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders. As individuals with either lived experience, or as the parents, caregivers, and family members of individuals living with mental health and/or substance use disorder conditions, peers personally understand the experience of the individuals they serve and can help clarify the most effective set of services for everyone’s recovery needs. The Grandparenting Process takes a person’s work experience and training into consideration for meeting the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist certification. Persons seeking certification under the grandparenting process must apply for certification by December 31, 2022. Below is CalMHSA’s timeline for the grandparenting peers: May 2 – September 30 November 30: Applications for peer workers referred by county mental health and/or substance use disorder programs (also referred to as Behavioral Health Plans) open on These peers are eligible to grandparent into the Certification Process if they meet the following requirements:
    • Self-identify as an individual with lived experience of the process of recovery from mental illness or substance use disorder, either as a consumer of these services or as the parent, caregiver, or family member of a consumer.
    • Be willing to share your story as a person with lived experience of recovery to help others.
    • Be employed as a peer as of January 1, 2022.
    • Have met work experience requirements of [either]:
      • 1550 hours as a peer specialist in 1 year [OR]
      • 1550 hours in 3 years, with 500 hours completed within the last 12 months, working as a peer specialist.
    • Have a high school diploma, general equivalency degree, or equivalent degree or college degree.
    • Be 18 years of age or older.
    • Completed Peer training.
    • Completed 20 hours of Continued Education (CE) units in the last 2 years.
    • Including completion of 6 hours of training in law and ethics as part of the 20 Continued Education (CE) hours requirement above.
    • Will agree, in writing, to adhere to the Medi-Cal Code of Ethics for Peer Support Specialists in California.
    • Provide three letters of recommendation from a supervisor, a colleague/professional, and one self-recommendation describing their current role and responsibilities as a peer support specialist.
    • Pass the state certification exam.
    • Have a strong dedication to recovery.

The information provided in this overview does not supersede the documentation required for certification as a Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist under the grandparenting option policy. It is a guide.