family-peerp-programThe Family Peer Support Program provides direct peer support services to families with children who have medical, mental, or behavioral health challenges. Our Family Peer Support Specialists assist families who need to navigate the special education and mental health care service systems. Services can include education on caregiver and child rights and responsibilities and attending meetings – e.g., planning and placement team (PPT) meetings – with families. Working collaboratively with parents/caregivers, youths, schools, and other service providers, Family Peer Support Specialists empower families and help them participate fully in the development of their child’s care, so that they can advocate on their own.

Our goals are to:

  • Help families and providers work together to improve outcomes for children with medical, mental, or behavioral health challenges
  • Guide, educate, and empower families to learn how to advocate for their children

Our values:

  • Family involvement in all aspects of their child’s care
  • Families as equal partners in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of services
  • Build on family strengths and respond to the family’s needs
  • Services that are responsive to the family’s culture and community
  • Services that are provided in the home or community as the first option
  • Mutual respect and collaboration between families, schools, mental health professionals, and other service providers foster successful outcomes

What is a Family Peer Support Specialist?

  • Trained professional
  • A person with experience being a parent or caregiver of a child with emotional, behavioral, neurobiological, or mental health needs who understands the challenges that families encounter
  • Someone who will partner with you and your family to advocate for the services that your child needs

What you can expect from us?

  • Assistance becoming an equal partner in the assessment of your children’s needs and the planning and implementation of services for your children
  • Help obtaining services that are culturally appropriate, family-centered, and community-based
  • Support so that your voice is heard and that you are an integral part of your child’s educational plan
  • Collaboration with you and other service providers on your team
  • Help identifying resources, strategies, and services needed
  • Assistance accessing basic needs (food stamps, food pantries, etc.)
  • Informal and informed support
  • Education and support to empower you to become an effective advocate for your children
    • How to interpret tests, assessments, and evaluations
    • Understanding your child’s diagnosis
    • Identifying your child’s strengths and service needs
  • Empower you by giving you the knowledge and confidence you need to continue advocating on your own and never give up

What will be expected from you?

  • Share your hopes and dreams for the future (VISION)
  • Be open and honest about your expectations and concerns
  • Help us get to know your family
    • What are your, and your family’s talents, hobbies, etc. (STRENGTHS)
    • What do you see as barriers to having a better future (NEEDS)
  • Help us find out who can become part of “your family’s team” to support you at meetings about your child
  • Full participation in planning and preparation for all meetings regarding your child and family
  • Maintain regular contact with your Family Peer Support Specialist through meetings scheduled, emails, and phone calls

For more information contact:

Referral and Triage Coordinator
Phone: (860) 563-3232
Fax: (860) 563-3961


Downloadable Forms: