Standards Overview

The term Recovery Residence was promulgated by the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) and refers to standards-based recovery housing. As the Florida NARR affiliate, FARR certifies provider compliance with the NARR Standard. This Standard is constructed atop the Social Model of Recovery Philosophy (SMRP) which emerged in California some seventy years ago, attracted science-based, academic researchers over the following decades which, in turn, led to SMRP migration nationwide in the late 60’s and beyond. Recovery-oriented housing founded on SMRP principles continues to be studied academically due to its proven effectiveness in promoting and sustaining long-term recovery.


“I believe the emergence of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) is one of the more important things to have happened in recent years in the recovery domain—and the development of your preliminary recovery housing standards marks a significant milestone in our field. The work you are doing is extremely important, and we thank you for it.”  

David Mineta, Deputy Director of Demand Reduction for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)


Initially developed through an intensive year long collaboration between regional and state level organizations supporting recovery residences nationwide, the preliminary NARR Standard for Recovery Residences was first introduced in 2011.  Following a similar collaborative process, the enhanced 2015 NARR Standard reflects the consensus of NARR Affiliates, including FARR, that the Social Model of Recovery Philosophy, implemented to varying degrees, is the foundation for all four support levels.

The NARR Standard does not instruct providers how to specifically operate their recovery residence. Instead, thirty-eight standards organized under six domains provide a measurement platform upon which certification may be achieved.  By way of example: Standard 1.08 states: “Recovery Residences provide drug and alcohol free environments”. Applicants for certification submit a policy and procedure for the implementation of this particular standard. If FARR Certification staff are satisfied this policy and procedure achieves the objective, then nothing further is required to meet the standard. Conversely, if staff have concerns regarding the efficacy of the provider’s policy and procedure, they then consult with the provider to arrive at an alternative path by which the applicant might achieve compliance.


Why is certification to national standards voluntary?


Persons in recovery from substance use disorders are a federally protected class under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Fair Housing Act Amendment (FHAA) protects this disabled class from discriminatory actions of state and local governments. Florida passed legislation (effective July 1, 2015) that honors these federal protections and also provides further protections to ensure consumers of recovery support housing services are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous opportunists who seek to prey on vulnerable citizens. By adopting a “voluntary” approach to standards-based certification, Florida law makers have successfully threaded a very complex needle. After a one-year grace period in which recovery residence operators may achieve certification, effective July 1, 2016 only certified residences in good standing remain eligible to receive referrals from DCF licensed substance use treatment (SUT) providers.

Is the word "Standard" interchangeable with the word regulation?

In 2013, the Department of Children & Families-Substance Abuse licensure division delivered to the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee a