January 2017 Newsletter
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Mental Health Advocacy Day 2017
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
The Vermont State House
8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Join advocates, peers, family members, mental health professionals, and providers across Vermont to RAISE AWARENESS among our elected officials and share your experience as a parent, family member, advocate, community member or mental health professional with Vermont’s mental health system of care.
Invite your legislators to:
- Join you for bagels and coffee in the cafeteria.
- Come hear our stories in Room 11 @ 11:00 a.m.
- Join you for lunch in the cafeteria
Act Now! Contact your legislator and urge them to support mental health care this year! Find your Senators and Representatives
Hosted and Organized By:
- NAMI Vermont
- Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery
- Vermont Care Partners
Vermont Federation of Families is one of 43 other co-sponsors.
Getting Involved- Making a Difference: An Interview
Cinn Smith of Rutland Vermont is a parent. She is a member of both the Act 264 Board and the State Standing Committee for Children, Youth and Families. Cinn is also the Rutland Parent Representative for the Act 264 process. I asked Cinn a few questions about her membership of these two Governor appointed committees.
Why did you decide to join these committees?
I was asked by the then director of the VTFFF. I went to a couple of meetings and it felt like a good fit for my desire to make a difference.
What value do you see to giving your time to these committees?
I really feel that Commissioners and others in higher government need to hear the voices and needs from the people who walk these paths every day. I try to bring family voice to these meetings.
Do you recommend other parents and community members join, Why?
The more our stories are heard the more impact they have. I would not continue to be involved if I did not feel there is an impact. My time, as is yours, is very valuable.
Calling parents, young adults and advocates interested in advising and improving our systems of care for children, youth and families.
New Members needed. Please consider applying to be appointed to one of these committees.
The Act 264 Advisory Board
The Act 264 Advisory Board is made up of nine members including equal members of parents, advocates, and providers. The Board’s purpose is to advise the secretaries of the Agency of Human Services and of the Agency of Education, and the Commissioners for Mental Health, Child Welfare, and Disabilities in the areas of:
- Matters relating to children and adolescents with any disability and their families;
- The development and status of the inter-agency system of care; and
- Yearly priorities for the inter-agency system of care.
State Standing Committee for Children and Families
The purpose of the State Program Standing Committee is to involve people receiving services and others not employed by the Department of Mental Health (DMH) in the areas of:
- Reviewing agency-specific performance
- Decision-making regarding policy
The State Standing Committee is responsible for participating in the development of the state system of care plan and in the agency designation process, and for advising DMH on key issues and developments, such as hiring of key management, evaluation of quality, departmental policy, and other matters. Members are also involved in the re-designation process for the state’s designated mental health agencies. This group meets monthly.
Members of both committee/board are Governor appointed and meet monthly. Stipends and mileage are paid to family members who are not already paid to attend the meetings.
For more information contact Kathy Holsopple, firstname.lastname@example.org or Cinn Smith, email@example.com
Interview with a parent Rep
Amy Lincoln Moore has been the Parent Rep in the Barre Montpelier area for 9 years. I asked her to speak to other parents about her experience as a parent Rep.
Why did you decide to become a Parent Representative (Parent Rep)?
I have a son with several Mental Health Disabilities, and I thought I could learn a lot from this position to help me support his needs and how to advocate for him better.
What value do you see to giving your time as a parent rep?
Extremely valuable, not only to myself in helping my own family, but to let families know that: they are not alone, that’s it’s okay to struggle raising a child with special needs and that there is help out there for them. I also help to empower them to ask for that help.
Do you recommend other parents become parent reps in their regions? Why
Yes. A Parent Rep is needed in every region in VT. Some regions could use two, if we had the funding. Families need supports to navigate through the systems in their schools, home life and community. It doesn’t matter if parents have Ph.D.’s. Advocating for your own child within these Systems is difficult and Parent Reps can support families to help their children.
Parent Representatives needed in Bennington, Brattleboro, Hartford Newport, St Albans and Middlebury
Vermont’s ACT 264 legislation created a system that supports families at a community level by offering Coordination of Services, CSP, to those families in complex situations needing services from more than one agency or service system.
Act 264 legislation believes that Parents are valuable contributing members of their child’s Individual Treatment Team and know their child’s needs, strengths, and challenges. The Parent Representative, Parent Rep, role brings a parent voice and the parents’ voice into the process.
Parent Reps can assist families prior to a CSP or Local Interagency Team (LIT) meeting, at a CSP or LIT meeting and after these meetings.
The Parent Rep is a volunteer who is supported by a stipend and mileage. Parent Reps are chosen by the LIT members. The Vermont Federation of Families assists to find, recruit and train parents for this role. The time commitment for a Parent Rep is usually one LIT meeting of 1-2 hours per month and several hours per month or week to support families around their coordinated services meetings and plan.
To consider becoming and/or apply to be your local Parent Rep please contact Cindy Tabor, firstname.lastname@example.org or Amy Lincoln Moore, email@example.com
The Vermont Federation of Families is Hiring
We are looking for 2 people to support other parents and facilitate a family group;one for Franklin/Grand Isle Counties and one for Addison County. Ideal candidate is a parent of a child with a disability. These are part-time positions supporting other families in each area. Part of the work will be direct family support and some will be serving as a parent advisor to local service delivery team.
12 + hours per week
Must have experience/knowledge navigating service systems, building relationships with the provider community, advocacy experience for self or others. Knowledge or experience of Act 264 coordinated services planning is a plus.
To apply send a cover letter and resume with 3 references to:
Vermont Federation of Families
P.O. Box 1577
Or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications accepted until position is filled.