Peer Support & Barrier Crimes

Before beginning the process of becoming a Peer Recovery Specialist (PRS), the Office of Recovery Services (ORS) wants you to be informed about the impact that a criminal history may have on your ability to secure employment in the behavioral health field. There are certain crimes (called barrier crimes) that prevent individuals from being employed in the behavioral health field.  It is important to understand this before making the decision to enter the PRS profession.   ORS strongly recommends that if you have a criminal history, you make the determination whether the criminal conviction will prevent you from gaining employment in the behavioral health field.  This can be done by obtaining an FBI criminal background check and comparing it to the list of barrier crimes in the Code of Virginia. 

Some barrier crimes are deemed “screenable.”  A person can go through a screening and assessment process to determine if the person can receive a waiver and be able to work within the behavioral health field. 

Download the Barrier Crimes Information Packet on the resources page>