The nationally accepted definition of family-driven practice states that family-driven practice means that “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.” Its fourth guiding value explains that: “Families and family-run organizations provide direction for policy decisions that impact funding, supports, and services, including the right of families and youth to have meaningful voice at the individual and policy level.”
Family-driven practice is not just a good idea. It is the law. Mississippi legislation passed in 2010 says that the “The Mississippi Statewide System of Care shall be (emphasis added): (a) Child centered, family focused, family driven and youth guided;”. This means that families and family-run organizations should be at the decision-making tables of state and local agencies and that those agencies are not acting consistently with the law when they do not ensure this partnership.
Families as Allies is very committed to preparing families to serve in leadership roles and working in partnership with agencies to help them incorporate families into all aspects of decision-making. Over the last two years, Families as Allies has trained over one hundred family members in leadership training using the nationally recognized Serving on Groups curriculum. This training prepares parents and caregivers to serve on system-level decision-making groups so that systems can be more responsive to children and families.
We are grateful for so many families’ commitment to this training and to making Mississippi’s System of Care for children stronger. We would like to invite all of the family members who have completed this training to join Families as Allies’ new monthly leadership group, starting September 23rd, that we hope will become a model pathway for our new leadership graduates. These virtual meetings will focus on opportunities to serve on decision-making groups, provide coaching and guidance for those already serving on groups or about to serve on groups, and can be a place to discuss common concerns, problems and successes.
If you are a family member who has completed this training and would like to be a part of this group, please click this link to register for our first meeting. If you have questions or feedback about the group, please contact Henry Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-355-0915.
If you are a state or local agency partner and want to learn more about meaningfully involving families and family-run organizations in policy committees and decisions, please contact Joy Hogge at email@example.com or 601-355-0915.