YOUTH POWER! of Families Together in NYS administers the New York State Youth Peer Advocate Credential. The establishment of a YPA Credential recognizes the importance of peer-to-peer support for young people. The intent of this credentialing process is to formally recognize the expertise of Youth Peer Advocates, to ensure all advocates demonstrate core competencies, to expand reimbursement possibilities, and to provide opportunities for professional growth and collaboration.
What is a Youth Peer Advocate?
Youth Peer Advocates are individuals between 18-30 years of age who self-identify as a person with first-hand experience with a social, emotional, medical, developmental, substance use, and/or behavioral challenges as a young person or have received services in any one of the child-serving systems (juvenile justice, foster care, special education, or addiction recovery). YPAs use their lived experience to promote resiliency, recovery, wellness, and self-efficacy in young people and promote the practice of youth-guided and family-driven approaches.
NYS Youth Peer Advocate Provisional & Professional Credential
An individual seeking a YPA Credential will typically start with a Provisional Credential. Please read the FAQ and the application instructions before completing the application. We have also prepared a pre-recorded video with page-by-page instructions. Completion of the YPA Level One training is required for the YPA Provisional Credential. If you have not taken the Level One training, click here to get to the training page.
Please note that once you have obtained the YPA Provisional Credential, you must complete all other requirements of the Professional Credential within 18 months including 600 hours of paid or formal volunteer work as a YPA. If you are not yet employed or have not secured your ability to obtain these hours, it is recommended that you wait to apply for the provisional credential until you are able to do so.
NYS Youth Peer Advocate Credential Renewal
The Youth Peer Advocate Credential is valid for 2 years from the date it was issued. It must be renewed every 2 years. It is the responsibility of each YPA to submit the required YPA Credential Renewal paperwork no more than 90 days and no less than 30 days prior to the expiration date of their current, valid credential. More information regarding the renewal process and the necessary documents are coming soon.
NYS Youth Peer Advocate Code of Ethics
YOUTH POWER! is dedicated to the principle that Youth Peer Advocates must meet the highest standards of ethical practice. With this goal in mind, the Youth Peer Services Advisory Council (YPSAC) has adopted a Code of Ethics specifically for Youth Peer Advocates.
The YPA Code of Ethics exists for the protection of young people, their families, and to maintain the integrity of the workforce. It outlines the standards of ethical conduct for all Youth Peer Advocates. Failure to comply with the YPA Code of Ethics may result in disciplinary action.
A separate document, the YPA Code of Ethics Violation Policies and Procedures, will be used by the YPSAC to investigate all alleged violations of the YPA Code of Ethics. Credentialed Youth Peer Advocates are encouraged to thoroughly read and practice in accordance with the Youth Peer Advocate Code of Ethics.