CARES Program

Peer Recovery Support Services

Empowering people in recovery to live meaningful and rewarding lives

The Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist Academy was developed by the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse to create a workforce of peers to provide recovery support services to the communities of Georgia. Funded by Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the CARES Academy is the first of its kind in the country to be Medicaid billable.

Upon completion of the CARES Academy, peers are able to:
Advocate for recovery for themselves, the peers with whom they work, their recovery community, and for a Recovery Oriented System of Care.
Run recovery groups using “Partners for Change Outcome Management System”, an evidence-based practice found on the SAMHSA’s “National Registry of Evidence Based Practices and Programs (NREPP)”.
Conduct individual recovery check-ins by supporting peers in self-directed care and assessing a peer’s ‘recovery capital’ using Motivational Interviewing (also on NREPP) skills to enhance the relationship.
The Academy’s many strengths are evidenced in its three core components: Training, Examination, and Continuing Education.
Click the button below to learn more about applying for the CARES program
CARES Academy Dates 
CARES Academy 38
Feb 3-7, 2020
Applications due December 9, 2019
CARES Academy 39
April 13-17, 2020
Applications due March 2, 2020
CARES Academy 40
July 13-17, 2020
Applications due June 1, 2020
CARES Academy 41
August 24-28, 2020
Applications due July 20, 2020
CARES Academy 42
October 19-23, 2020
Applications due September 6 2020


The mission of Georgia CARES is to promote long-term recovery from substance use disorders by providing experienced peer support and advocating for self-directed care.


We envision a recovery-oriented system of care that supports self-directed pathways to recovery by building on the strengths and resilience of individuals, families and communities.