By standing together as families and making sure we are partners in fixing them.
Families as Allies responds to 150 – 200 calls each month from families whose children are experiencing difficulties. While our primary goal is always to support callers in advocating for what their child needs, we also track the reason for these calls.
Common reasons families call, as well as focus group data over the years, reflect challenges in the systems that serve our children. Some of the most common challenges are:
- Schools have difficulty responding to children with emotional difficulties, even when the child is identified as having a disability under the law and has an educational plan
- Families have trouble finding mental health services that they feel are non-judgmental, affordable and responsive
- It is hard for some families to find helpful and intensive enough community-based services for their children. As a result, their children cycle in and out of institutions.
- When children are in a psychiatric residential facility or hospital, families are sometimes called to come pick them up without warning and told child protective services will be called if they do not. Occasionally families are told this is being done at the direction of the Justice Department.
- Both biological and foster families have trouble getting information about their children and what the plan is for them when children are taken into custody. Some grandparents report that they want temporary custody of the children in these situations, but children are sent to foster care instead.
Families can work together, ideally in partnership with systems and providers, to change the things that lead to these problems. How can you be a partner in this work?
- Be informed – Know your rights, get to know the people working with your child and let them know you and your child want to partner with them
- Remember you are an important part of any team working with your child
- Learn about the boards, advisory boards and committees in different system that serve your child – attend their meetings and volunteer to be part of them
- Become familiar with websites and other social media of state systems:
- Mississippi Department of Mental Health
- Mississippi State Department of Health
- Mississippi Department of Education
- Mississippi Department of Human Services
- Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services
- Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services
- Mississippi Division of Medicaid
- Mississippi Attorney General, Children's Division
- Submit feedback on proposed policies
- Get to know your legislators and follow legislation
- Consider writing a letter to the editor or op/ed piece
- Join the Making a Plan (MAP) Team in your area
- Look for opportunities to provide training for and with those working with your child. Co-training between parents and services providers benefits everyone, especially our children
Want to know more about how to do these things? Contact our office or sign up for our next Leadership Training.