Recovery Community Organization Certification

What are recovery community organizations?

 A Recovery Community Organization (RCO) is an independent, grassroots, non-profit organization providing a variety of activities available to all community members recovering from substance use, not restricted to individuals enrolled in a specific educational, treatment, or residential program. 

Recovery Community Organization Certification

Step 1: Determine if your organization meets the basic framework of a recovery community organization through this brief organization self-assessment.
  1. Is your organization a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status or operating under the umbrella of an existing non-profit organization with 501 (c)(3) status?
  2. If your organization operates under the umbrella of an existing non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status, does it operate with autonomy, holding true to the mission and vision of your organization providing services for and by the recovery community?
  3. Does your organization embody the following three core principles of a Recovery Community Organization?
    • Recovery vision – Focuses on long-term recovery from addictions, enhancing quality and quantity of recovery support services available to the community, mobilizing individuals and community resources to promote recovery.
    • Authenticity of voice Represents the interest of the local or statewide recovery community, supports self-directed recovery, mutual aid including all pathways of recovery, developed by and for the recovery community, with a minimum of 51% of board members identifying as individuals in recovery from addiction.
    • Accountability to the recovery community – The organization is accountable and responsive to the community they serve, autonomous non-profit organization, independent in governance, drawing strength from the authentic voice of the recovery community.
  4. Does your organization engage in one of the three, or all, core strategies of a Recovery Community Organization?
    • Public education and awareness – Educating the public, policy makers, service providers, and media about the reality of recovery. Raises awareness of social and policy barriers experienced by individuals in or seeking recovery support services. Provides an opportunity for recovery community members to advocate with anonymity.
    • Policy advocacy – Addresses barriers found in public policies that hinder an individual’s ability to access sustainable recovery through supports and services. 
      Advocacy focuses on ending the punitive measures of people for their status as individuals with histories of addiction. Advocacy efforts implemented at all levels 
    • Peer based and other recovery support services and activities – Peer recovery support services can be delivered at one central location or in a variety of locations throughout the community. Peer-based services can include but are not limited to telephone recovery support, all recovery meetings and/or multiple pathways to recovery, harm reduction, workshops, resource brokering, and life skills development. Services can be developed and provided by paid staff or volunteers. 

If you answered yes to the above questions and meet the core principles and strategies of a Recovery Community Organization, you may proceed with completing the online application.

  • The online application may take 60-90 minutes to complete and must be completed in one session.
  • Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*). 
Step 2: Review and get familiar with the National Standards of Best Practices for Recovery Community Organizations created by Faces and Voices of Recovery before completing this application

Faces and Voices of Recovery is the leading national organization setting standards and best practices for Recovery Community Organizations since 2001.

Step 3: Complete the recovery community organization certification application and compile the required documents

Required document attachments for recovery community organization certification, must have documents ready for upload at time of application completion (downloadable PDF) .

Required Attachments for Recovery Community Organization Certification include: 

  • 501(c)(3) Determination Letter
  • Notarized and signed affidavit stating the Board of Directors consists of 51% identifying as individuals in recovery from substance use. Affidavit must be signed by the organization’s Director stating the Board of Directors meets the 51% in SUD recovery and must be signed by the applying organization Director and notarized. 
  • Recovery Café Network membership verification and/or certification (if applicable, only applies to Recovery Cafes who are full members of the National Recovery Cafe Network and no longer in emerging status).
  • Verification of Accreditation from The Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services (CAPRSS) (if applicable, only applies to organization accredited by CAPRSS).
  • Recovery community organization certification application completed online (application link on the IRN website) 
  • Downloadable application PDF for review purposes only 
Step 4: Certification application and required documents submitted. 

The IRN team will review the documents within 30 days and reach out via email if additional documents are needed. If you have questions, please email us at

Step 5: Conference call and interview preparation with Indiana Recovery Network interview team 

After your application and supporting documents have all been submitted and everything has been reviewed, Indiana Recovery Network will schedule a conference call with you within 14 days of document submission. Indiana Recovery Network team members will be available to answer any questions about the quality standards or the review process. Any official recommendations will be communicated to you during this call. Indiana Recovery Network team members will also verify that the organization is ready to schedule the virtual interview.

Step 6: Virtual interview

To perform the virtual interview your organization needs to have been in operation for at least 60 days and have been providing peer support services for a minimum of 60 days to be eligible for Recovery Works billing.  

Your recovery community organization (RCO) virtual interview will be performed by two staff from the Indiana Recovery Network virtual review team. The virtual interview will provide the IRN interview team with the opportunity to ensure the applying organization meets RCO national standards and best practices. 

Step 7: Post-virtual interview survey and implement required quality improvements 

After the virtual interview, the Indiana Recovery Network will provide you with an official communication within 7 days along with a post interview checklist completed by at least two IRN staff, peer leaders, or volunteers. This communication will list any required quality improvements that your organization needs to engage in prior to your application being approved.  

*If quality improvements are necessary you must respond to these recommendations within 30 days by submitting the required quality improvement documentation. 

If you do not respond to the Indiana Recovery Network within required timelines, your application will be reviewed based on the information available. 

In some cases, the Indiana Recovery Network may require a second virtual interview to verify quality improvement recommendations have been implemented. 

Step 8: Approval/Denial of Certification

Indiana Recovery Network will make RCO certification recommendations based on the completed application and documents received. The Indiana Recovery Network will notify you within 30 days regarding the status of your pending certification. 

Status Categories: You will receive an email from the IRN notifying your organization that your application is in one of the following status categories. 

Approval: You have completed all required steps in becoming a certified RCO. Next steps for your organization, if applicable, include completing the initial Recovery Works onboarding documentation for billing and attending Recovery Works training. 

Denial: The Indiana Recovery Network has determined your organization does not meet certification criteria at this time. All denials are automatically sent and reviewed by the Division of Mental Health and Addictions. Your organization may reapply 6 months from the time the denial was made and a follow up letter explaining the decision will be sent. If you have additional questions on the denial status can contact the Indiana Recovery Network Director at

Appeal process: Applicants wishing to appeal RCO Certification denial can submit a formal letter to Indiana Recovery Network Director at within 14 days of denial. The Indiana Recovery Network will respond within 30 days of receiving the formal letter. The appeal process will be reviewed by a three-person review panel.