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Families as Allies Receives Family-to-Family Health Information Center Grant

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We are delighted to announce that the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded Families as Allies the Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HIC) program after a competitive application process. This program aims to provide information, education, technical assistance, and peer support to families of children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and the professionals who serve them. The award is for five years and funds the Center with $96,000 from HRSA each year.

Families as Allies proposes to establish a Family-to-Family Health Information Center in Mississippi that will serve families of children and youth with special health care needs statewide. The Center will provide direct support to families, assist professionals to more effectively partner with families, and support policy and infrastructure changes that will benefit this population of children and families over time.

We will leverage the family-centered parent-to-parent support activities, professional partnerships/engagement and policy infrastructure that we have established in the mental health system and are establishing in juvenile justice, early childhood and healthcare. We will build on the work with families that we already do through the Maternal Child Health program of the Mississippi State Department of Health, its partners, and other family-run, disability and grassroots organizations with whom we network.

The Center will build on Families as Allies’ current successful approaches to support families, increase parent/professional partnerships and enhance infrastructure. The strategies that we will build on in this project are:

1) Craft an ongoing outreach campaign that supports families, professionals, policymakers and the public and includes information about CYSHCN, medical homes, transition, health equity and addressing disparities;

2) Create an enhanced “warmline” to respond to families, providers, policymakers and other stakeholders;

3) Expand family training to train families of CYSHCN directly and increase the number of parents providing parent-to-parent support to families of CYSHCN, as well as training professionals on how to partner with families;

4) Strengthen partnerships by building on existing relationships with families, our current funding partners, the CYSHCN staff and its partners, the state agencies, providers in different systems and other grassroots, disability advocacy and family-run organizations;

5) Asses our efforts through ongoing evaluation of our work and monitoring of disparities, and

6) Build enhanced infrastructure by serving on state-level interagency committees, issuing policy briefs and updates on relevant topics, and conducting leadership training of families to serve on decision-making committees.

Established in 1992, Families as Allies is the only statewide organization in Mississippi run by and for families of children with behavioral health challenges. Since 2018 we have expanded the scope of our work to families of children with special health care needs. We bring families together throughout the state to support each other and work together to make things better for our children.

Our mission is to make sure families are partners in their children’s care so that our vision that ALL children have the opportunity to reach their potential and succeed becomes a reality. By families partnering in their children’s care, we mean that the system of care for children in Mississippi will be family-driven. We follow the National Federation of Families’ definition of family-driven practice, “families have the primary role in decisions regarding their children as well as the policies and procedures governing the well-being of all children in their community, state, tribe, territory and nation.”

As a family-run organization, we know the power of parents helping other parents in their same shoes. We believe this Center will have real-world outcomes for families, including increased information and support for families and professionals working with them, greater policy involvement by families, and more agencies engaged in helping families and children. Most importantly, children will receive better care and be more likely to thrive.

“The Mississippi State Department of Health and Families as Allies have a shared commitment to create a responsive system of care for all children and youth served by Title V programs,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said. “I enthusiastically look forward to our continued collaboration to enhance the state’s ability to promote positive outcomes for children with special needs and their families.”

For more information about this project, contact Joy Hogge at 601-355-0915 or

[Photo by Jhon David on Unsplash]

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