NAPP Programmatic Standards

NAPP Programmatic Standards

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Introduction to the Revised Programmatic Standards and Ethics
Sue Flohr, NAPP, then NPHA Board Member, Chair,
Programmatic Standards Review Committee, CPPE

The update of the NAPP, formerly NPHA, Programmatic Standards and Ethics are the result of a Presidential priority of former NAPP/NPHA President Dr. Randy Black.  Dr. Black felt that the Programmatic Standards and Ethics are the cornerstone or sine qua non of peer helping and NAPP/NPHA and that it was imperative that the Programmatic Standards and Ethics be current and reflect the ‘best practices/processes’ of peer helpings for others to follow who were either developing or continuing to operate peer helping programs nationally and internationally.  Dr. Black also believes that the Programmatic Standards and Ethics are what distinguishes NAPP/NPHA from other organizations, bodies, or agencies that are advocates of peer helping and peer helping programs. A meta-analysis has shown that programs that follow the NAPP/NPHA Programmatic Standards and Ethics are more efficacious and often when programs are ineffective it is due a program implementation error (known as a type III error) due to not following or adhering to the Programmatic Standards and Ethics; Dr. Black appointment me to lead a blue-ribbon committee to revise the Programmatic Standards and Ethics according the best practices known inpeer helping today. Before I describe the process that was used to revised the Programmatic Standards and Ethics, I would like to recount the history of the initial development of the Programmatic Standards and Ethics more than a decade ago.

In preparing to introduce you to the revised edition of NAPP/NPHA’s Programmatic Standards and Ethics, I read Volume 7, No. 4 of the PFQ published in June of 1990. It was the “Special Issue” written to debut the original Standards and Ethics. Dr. Judith Tindall was the guest editor. She told about the 2½-year process of creating the Standards and Ethics and recognized the individuals who toiled with her. Twelve years later, many of those contributors are still very active in NAPP/NPHA. I am grateful to them for creating an outstanding document. So outstanding, that when the Programmatic Standards and Ethics Committee asked for suggested revisions from established practitioners from across the country, many responded with comments about how functional and sound they are. Most had no suggestions for changes!

However, there were things that needed to be changed. The Board of Directors and the Standards and Ethics Committee join me in expressing our appreciation for those peer helping professionals who did respond with suggestions — both in writing and at the work sessions at the Kansas City conference. We hope that you will see your impact. Our expectation is that all NAPP/NPHA members will find this revised edition to be even more functional as we strive for excellence in our peer helping programs.

Dr. Barbara Varenhorst was the president of NAPP/NPHA when the Standards and Ethics were published. I read her “President’s Column” in the same issue of the PFQ. She wrote, “A Code of Ethics and Standards may seem like dry reading and something to be filed away and forgotten.” She listed several reasons why this must not be true for the NAPP/NPHA Ethics and Standards. Fortunately, some of her reasons are no longer applicable because of the tremendous strength the Standards have given to peer-helping programs that have utilized them. The NAPP/NPHA Standards and Ethics have helped our communities and schools realize that we are serious, essential programs that empower individuals to help others. However, one reason that Dr. Varenhorst listed remains as an essential reason that these Standards and Ethics must never be filed and forgotten. She stated,

“It is essential that these Standards and Ethics become our working papers in designing, monitoring, evaluating and improving our peer helping programs. If not, increasingly we will become more vulnerable to critics and exposed to attacks of questionable validity. Although we may not all benefit from the existence of excellent programs, all of us will suffer in the shadow of those that are weak or ineffective.”

I urge you to carefully read over the new Programmatic Standards and Ethics. Discuss them with your colleagues and with your peer helpers. Attend one of the Standards and Ethics workshops offered at our annual conference. We will be anxious to hear what you think and to get your input as to how we can continue to keep this document current and effective.