‘Families as Allies Live’: Training, New Grants and Our Focus this Next Quarter

This past week Families as Allies had our quarterly “Families as Allies Live” on Facebook and Youtube. We hope you will watch the recordings of this event, but either way, we also wanted to summarize what we talked about and link to some of the resources and items discussed.

Henry Moore talked about finally being back in person for our “Serving on Groups That Make Decisions” Leadership Training. This evidence-based curriculum helps parents sharpen their leadership skills while preparing them to serve in groups and on committees that make decisions about the well-being of children and families. We believe that any committees or organizations that affect families’ lives should have people who receive those services helping to make those decisions. Watch our website’s events section for the next training opportunities.

We also discussed the Parent Peer Support training we’ve expanded through our partnership with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. The updated training is consistent with the National Federation of Families’ competencies. We’re excited that our recent training had eight people participate, which is significant because it’s a weeklong, intensive training. We’ll have the next training in September 2022. (If you aren’t taking the training for your job, let us know, as we do have some stipends that we can offer to families who want to take the training but need some compensation to help pay for their time.)

And speaking of leadership, our Leadership Coaching and Policy Discussion monthly meetings used to be just for our leadership training graduates. Now they’re open to anyone who would like to discuss leadership, policy and the role you can play. Our next discussion is on July 27.

We told you about our new federal grant called the Family-to-Family Health Information Center grant. These information centers offer family peer support for families whose children have special physical or mental healthcare needs.

As part of working on this grant and these new services, we’re raising the idea that every child deserves a medical home. A medical home is not a physical place but a standard for medical professionals to care for your child and your family. A “medical home” for children means a pediatric team knows your child’s medical history, involves your family in discussions and decisions, creates a trusting relationship, follows up, and much more.

We ended the meeting with a discussion of the Olmstead Supreme Court decision makes it required that children should have people working where children already are—schools, homes, primary care—including backup and support from mental health professionals when needed.

We’re focused on what and how we work on some specific items relating to Olmstead to help improve Mississippi for families with mental health challenges, and we want to keep talking about it and working on it with you. These are the things we want to work on related to Olmstead:

  • The places children already are, such as school, child care settings and doctor’s offices and clinics, have the correct information to help families know if their child might have a disability and help them get more support if they need it.
  • In the places where children already are, people working there have the resources to help families with their children, including backup and support from mental health professionals when needed.
  • Children stay in their homes, classrooms, primary care settings and communities, and, as much as possible, help and services are brought to them.
  • When children need more support than the people already in their lives can provide, there is someone who can help families find whatever type of support they think will be most helpful from wherever they want. That person shouldn’t feel pressured to offer services from any particular agency.
  • Families can choose from a wide array of services and supports shown to work; each family plan is unique.
  • Families have input into planning for their children and the programs, policies and systems for all children.
  • Families and others routinely and objectively evaluate services and supports to ensure they are helpful.

Again, we’d love to have you watch the event if you have time, and please reach out to us if you have feedback about any of our ideas or if you’d like to participate in these trainings and discussions. Thanks!

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