“We support each other and work together to make things better for our children“….these are the words we use to describe the core work of Families as Allies. What do these words really mean when difficult things happen and it’s hard to trust anyone?
There’s been tough news over the past few weeks – some families were notified that their children were losing their Disabled Child Living at Home Medicaid benefits, and then news broke that six employees of the Department of Human Services and the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) had allegedly been involved in an embezzlement scheme of historical proportions. Then historic floods hit central Mississippi, displacing hundreds of families.
I won’t pretend there are simple solutions for these painful situations, but I will make three commitments of support to you on behalf of Families as Allies.
1) We commit to providing practical support during difficult times. For families dealing with the loss of Medicaid benefits, we encourage you to access all of the rights available to you, including hearings and appeals, as described on the Division of Medicaid’s website and to contact Disability Rights Mississippi or a private attorney for additional legal advice. For families who are interested in learning how to work with state systems to make policies as effective as possible, check out our upcoming leadership training sessions in Meridian on March 6 and Hattiesburg on March 20.
2) We commit to sharing as much information as possible, including about Families as Allies, with you. Some people have asked if we are part of Families First, one of the non-profits associated with MCEC. We are not, but we do occasionally work with Families First staff, most recently to conduct focus groups with kinship care families this past August. We have never received funding from any non-profit associated with MCEC but did have a pending contract for a $75,000 sub-grant to provide parent education and support at the time this news broke.
One way to learn more about how non-profits use their funds is to examine their 990s, the IRS returns non-profits are required to file. You can see Families as Allies 990s here. We encourage all non-profits to make their 990s readily available to families and the general public.
3) We commit to making practical, vetted information about supporting your child’s mental health readily available to you. We do this online and through training. This resource from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network on helping your child cope with flooding may be particularly helpful right now. Check out our resource page on our website for additional mental health information and don’t forget to sign up for our February 26 webinar: