- S. 397.487 (Voluntary certification of recovery residences) states:
All owners, directors, and chief financial officers of an applicant recovery residence are subject to level 2 background screening as provided under chapter 435. A recovery residence is ineligible for certification, and a credentialing entity shall deny a recovery residence’s application, if any owner, director, or chief financial officer has been found guilty of, or has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, any offense listed in s. 435.04(2) unless the department has issued an exemption under s. 397.4872. In accordance with s.435.04, the department shall notify the credentialing agency of an owner’s, director’s, or chief financial officer’s eligibility based on the results of his or her background screening.
- S. 397.4871 (Recovery Residence Administrators certification) states:
All applicants are subject to level 2 background screening as provided under chapter 435. An applicant is ineligible, and a credentialing entity shall deny the application, if the applicant has been found guilty of, or has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, any offense listed in s. 435.04(2) unless the department has issued an exemption under s. 397.4872. In accordance with s. 435.04, the department shall notify the credentialing agency of the applicant’s eligibility based on the results of his or her background screening.
FARR is not the agency responsible for processing and/or support of this mandatory background screening. All applications for a Level 2 background check must be sought directly through the Background Screening Clearing House. Those seeking a Level 2 Background Screening should visit the Department of Children and Families webpage dedicated to the procedure and use The Clearing House DCF/FARR OCA# 09504796Z when processing:
Please reference F.S. 397.4872 for further information regarding exemption; publication. Individual exemptions to staff disqualification or administrator ineligibility may be requested if a recovery residence deems the decision will benefit the program. Requests for exemptions must be submitted in writing to the department within 20 days after the denial by the credentialing entity and must include a justification for the exemption.
A 12 month grandfathering period from April 1 2016-March 31, 2017 is provided to all owners and financial officers in order to facilitate this transition. Effective March 31, 2017, FARR will require all individuals who are mandated by Florida Statutes 397.487 and 397.4871 to upload evidence of successful completion of a level 2 background screening through the Portal on the FARR Website. On that date, any certified program who has failed to demonstrate compliance with this criteria as established by the state will be subject to immediate suspension and/or revocation of certification.
NARR Quality Standard 5 reads “Operate with Prudence” as evidenced by:
.04 Policies and procedures that ensure that background checks are conducted on all staff, including volunteers that have direct and regular interaction with residents
FARR requires each operator to identify and evidence their internal policy, procedure and protocol for conducting background screenings on staff and volunteers who have contact with residents as a component of the documentation phase of the Voluntary Certification application. FARR refrains from prescribing a “one size fits all” approach to background screenings. Upon submission, FARR Certification and Compliance Administrators as well as FARR Field Assessors review the submitted policy and procedure and, when appropriate, consult the provider regarding any necessary enhancements.
NARR Quality Standard 8 reads “Support Housing Choice” as evidenced by:
.01 Applicant screening policies and procedures provide current residents a voice in the acceptance of new members.
FARR requires applicants for Voluntary Certification to identify and evidence an internal policy, procedure and protocol for screening potential residents. This screening should, at a minimum, seek to identify the applicant is a candidate for inclusion in the priority population served by the community and that the support level offered meets the applicant’s needs. In some instances, this policy and procedure may include a protocol be established for resident background screenings. FARR relies on providers to determine whether resident background screenings be included in the programs policy and procedure, reserving the right to further consult providers should the identified priority population suggest the need for a resident background screening protocol.
Any program that choose to admit a registered sex offender must reflect compliance with state and federal requirements for this priority population. Any program that accepts persons who are under the Department of Corrections supervision must evidence compliance with state and/or federal requirements for this priority population.
All programs must comply with NARR Quality Standard 8.01 evidencing policies and procedures that empower the peers to voice support for and/ or concerns with acceptance of a new member in their community.
FARR’s mission is to promote quality recovery housing through provider compliance with the National Alliance of Recovery Residences Standard. Our certification team is comprised of trained administrative & field personnel. Through open and transparent collaboration, FARR personnel guide applicant owners, managers and staff to achieve the Standard. The duration of the certification process varies significantly based on provider preparedness, motivation and experience. The objective for both parties is to achieve successful certification. Assuming this shared objective, FARR Certification maintains unwavering integrity by ensuring providers continue to demonstrate compliance with the NARR Standard and FARR Code of Ethics. This document is designed to help guide you through the process of FARR Certification, detailing the requirements and procedure from start to finish.
Compliance audit protocol differs from the annual certification protocol in that it focuses on a thorough review of policies, procedures and practices related to certain affirmative attestations executed by the provider during initial and renewal application for voluntary certification. Compliance audits seek to confirm compliance with the core principles that govern the NARR Quality Standards and Code of Ethics and specific criteria mandated by F.S 397.487. Compliance audits are conducted without notice. At the time of application for initial and renewal certification, provider organizations agree to cooperate fully and transparently with FARR Compliance Audit Staff. This cooperation extends to providing FARR Field Audit Assessors access to organizational and resident records including, but not limited to, billing and receipt records, resident files, drug screening logs, drug confirmation test results, corporate records, insurance policies, fire and safety inspection reports, financial records and personnel files. Applicant organizations agree to provide FARR Field Audit Assessors with unrestricted access to interview Owner(s) of Record, CRRA(s) of Record, managers, staff and volunteers, in addition to residents and, when appropriate, neighbors for the sole purpose of confirming compliance as referenced above. In order that FARR might maintain the integrity of Certificates of Compliance, the FARR Board of Directors requires
that no less than twenty‐five (25%) percent of certified provider locations are selected for compliance audit review each calendar year.
FARR Code of Ethics
F.S. 397.407 - Substance Abuse Licensure & Fees
F.S. 397.487 - Voluntary Certification of Recovery Residences
F.S. 397.4871 - Recovery Residence Administrator Certification
F.S. 817.505 - Patient Brokering Prohibited; Exceptions & Penalties
It is the policy of The Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR) to ensure Certified Residences and stakeholders grievances are handled respectfully, appropriately, and professionally.
The Formal Grievance Procedure should be used to resolve interpersonal conflict between individuals and to report issues with existing FARR policy that a Certified Residence believes should be examined prior to the next scheduled annual policy review meeting.
The Formal Grievance Procedure should not be used for retribution or personal/agency gain.
The Formal Grievance Procedure includes but is not limited to the investigation, validation, and recommendation of the Ethics Committee as to the standing of the Certified Residence and sanctions and/or disqualification of their certification to the FARR Board, when necessary.
NARR Quality Standards
In 2015, the National Alliance of Recovery residences (NARR) updated and released the 2015 NARR Quality Standards. The Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR), who serves as the NARR Affiliate for Florida, adopted these revisions in August 2015. This standard defines the spectrum of recovery oriented housing and services and distinguishes four different types, which are known as “levels” or “levels of support.” The standard was developed through a strength-based and collaborative approach that solicited input from all major regional and national recovery housing organizations. Guidance for the standard was also received from recovery residence providers (some with decades of experience) from across the nation representing all four levels of support and nationally recognized recovery support stakeholders.
Priority Population refers to shared objectives and characteristics within the peer community. One such shared objective for electing to reside in recovery housing is to achieve sustainable recovery from a substance use disorder.
The application for Voluntary Certification requires the Primary CRRA to identify the priority population served by each residence location. Multiple characteristics may be selected. (Example: Female, Veterans) An opportunity to identify other characteristic(s) than those presented above is provided in the Residence Section of the application for Voluntary Certification.
The FARR Application for Voluntary Certification requires the primary Certified Recovery Residence Administrator to identify the recovery path supported by each individual residence operated by their program. The FARR Certification and Compliance Administrators as well as FARR Field Assessors are trained to interview staff, volunteers and residents to assess competencies and supported activities related to the recovery path identified within the application and documentation phase.
Programs that claim to support “all pathways” typically offer insufficient support for any particular pathway. Fostering a community culture of recovery support necessitates intentional and deliberate development of a peer community founded on a specific recovery path. Whether that peer community is founded on Faith-Based, 12 Step, Smart Recovery or upon participation in another mutual aid recovery platform, each location operated by the applicant program should evidence a commitment to a specific recovery path in order to facilitate peer leadership and accountability.
FARR welcomes and encourages recovery residences founded on all recovery pathways to apply for Voluntary Certification. However, when we receive an application suggesting a residence supports all pathways, we become concerned that, in practice, no recovery path is supported adequately. Generally, the absence of a foundational path undermines development of a supportive peer community.