The Vermont Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health exists to support families and children where a child or youth, age 0-22, is experiencing or at risk to experience emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges. The Federation is committed to:
- Providing families with peer support and information in order to make informed decisions.
- Empowering families, youth and young adults to navigate service and support systems.
- Advocating for accessible, flexible and quality family centered and driven services on a local, state and national level.
The Federation collaborates with schools, communities, governmental, and private agencies, and other advocacy organizations to achieve these ends.
VISIONback to top
Our Vision is that Vermont families, youth and young adults are informed, supported and empowered to grow and be well.
HISTORYback to top
The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health collaborated with family organizations, researchers, and treatment providers to identify and catalog the role and outcomes of parent to parent support services. That group, the Parent Partner Assessment Workgroup began its research and outreach in 2008 with individuals involved in SAMHSA Systems of Care. By August 2010, PPAW (under the leadership of Elaine Slaton) became the initial advisors to the development of national certification for Parent Support Providers in August 2010. The Certification Commission was created within the National Federation in September 2011, with the support of parents and parent support providers from all states, territories and Canada. The first certificates were awarded in June 2012.
The Certified Parent Support Provider™ certification defines the uniform standards and title of parents helping other parents who have children (0-26) experiencing emotional, behavioral (including substance use) or mental health concerns. Certification promotes ethical practice and creates mobility of workers across states. It brings to the workforce parents with experience in successfully helping their own children and increases the acceptance of this effective best “modern and good”practice.
Parent Support Providers (CPSP™) can articulate their experience parenting a child (youth and emerging adults) with behavioral health concerns, have received specialized training in helping other parents to understand children’s behavioral health and receive regular consultation from a parent/peer supervisor. In turn, they teach, coach, and mentor other parents/caregivers to be effective advocates for their own children and be equal partners with professionals in the delivery of services and policy development. The overall goal is to decrease the stigma associated with behavioral health challenges and promote effective strength-based children’s services that are family-driven/youth-guided.
The outcome of using a CPSP™ is parents positively accessing and being engaged in the treatment and educational services for their child or youth, parents understanding children’s mental health and experiencing less stress parenting, increasing the resiliency skills in their child, increasing the graduation rate of their student in special education and reducing the use of expensive hospitalization and long-term residential treatment. Additionally CPSP™ assists parents and youth to bring their family voice to the planning and evaluation process of public and private children’s mental health services.
To ensure availability of proper training, the Certification Commission has developed guidelines for achieving competency in the required eleven domains: ethics, confidentiality, effecting change, current issues in children’s behavioral health treatment and prevention information, educational information, communication, parenting for resiliency, multi-systems advocacy, wellness and natural support, empowerment, and the use of local resources.
FUTUREback to top
Our next journey to “Family and Young Adult Driven Care”
Vermont’s third System of Care (SOC), grant is for Young Adults in Transition (YIT), and we have national guidelines of “Family and Youth Driven”. This directive originated with the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America which states that Mental Health Care Is Consumer and Family Driven.
What does this really mean? How is this different from Family Centered Care?
Family-driven means families have a primary decision making role in the care of their own children as well as the policies and procedures governing care for all children in their community, state, tribe, territory , and nation consensus building and teaming that we are all more familiar with.
Not every family will want to “drive” the services that meet the needs of their children and youth. Families know their own strengths and capabilities; and there is no wrong choice. Choosing to drive the services is a personal choice, which should be available to families as we transform Vermont’s system of care.
Also, not every young adult has a strong connection to their family of origin. One of the goals of this transition grant is to help young people have strong family and/or ally connections. Our role is to encourage, where appropriate, strong family relationships and build skills in young adults and their families. Child protection statistics show that most children in custody at age of majority return to their family of origin. It is a delicate balance to move forward in strength as family youth/young adult driven, but we believe Vermont is up to the challenge!