|Often Asked Questions and Answers about WISCONSIN FAMILY TIES|
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1. What is Wisconsin Family Ties?
Wisconsin Family Ties, Inc. (WFT), is a statewide, not-for-profit organization run by families for families that include children and adolescents who have emotional, behavioral and mental disorders. Our mission is to provide greater understanding, acceptance, and support in the community for families having children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral and mental disorders.
2. When and how did Wisconsin Family Ties get started?
In 1985, grassroots family support and advocacy groups focusing on the needs of families that include children with emotional, behavioral or mental disorders began forming in various areas of the state. In these groups, parents garnered support, information, education and advocacy from one another and their children. In June 1987, family members representing five groups met in Wisconsin Rapids and the statewide agency, Wisconsin Family Ties was established. The organization was one of the first five statewide organizations in the nation to receive federal demonstration project grant funding. Today, there are 28 such state family networks throughout the United States.
3. What are the needs that Wisconsin Family Ties responds to?
Children and adolescents with mental health problems are the most under served disability group. Approximately 12 percent of children under 18 nationwide--7.5 to 9.5 million--suffer from problems that warrant mental health treatment. However, 70-80 percent of these children get inappropriate mental health services or no help at all.
Also unfortunate is the stigma families face when raising a child with an emotional, behavioral, and mental disorder. A widely accepted attitude is that blame for a child's condition should be placed on the parents. Parents also frequently blame themselves for their child's behavior. Because of this, parents may be too embarrassed or fearful to discuss the possibility of a childhood mental disorder with an outside source. If the child or youth's behavior is disruptive or antisocial, many parents are embarrassed and feel unable to take advantage of public recreational, educational and social activities that most families enjoy. As a family's isolation grows, their ability to access help for their children decreases. There are no simple solutions. Wisconsin Family Ties exists to ease family isolation and frustration and to help empower them to access the services their children need to become productive and successful citizens of their communities.
As an organization of families, we observe the critical impact families can have in the change process that leads to a mental health system that is sufficiently funded, coordinated, comprehensive, family-centered and community-based. We have been working in the last ten years to ensure that families have a voice in, access to, and ownership in the mental health system that serves them.
4. What are the organizational goals of Wisconsin Family Ties?
5. What services does Wisconsin Family Ties provide?
Families can access us by contacting the office at 800/422-7145, 608/267-6888, Wisconsin Family Ties, 16 North Carroll Street, Suite 640, Madison, WI 53703. Professionals working with our families often use our services as well:
6. How does Wisconsin Family Ties stay abreast of the issues and concerns that affect families that include children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders?
As an organization run by families, we are in a unique position of being informed by families firsthand about what is happening in their own families and communities.
WFT maintains strong collaborative connections with many agencies and groups throughout the state including: The Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy, The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of WI, The Quality Education Coalition, the Wisconsin Council on Developmental Disabilities, The State Bureau of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, The Wisconsin Association for Children with Behavior Disorders, The Special Needs Adoption Program, The Mental Health Association of Milwaukee and of Waukesha, FACETS, ABC for Health, and County Integrated Services Programs.
WFT is the state chapter of The Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health. It maintains connections with other national mental health organizations and connects us with other parent organizations like WFT nationwide.
WFT has connections with several major national information and research centers on children's mental health; Georgetown University Child Development Center, Portland State University Research and Training Center, The Bazelon Center, and The National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health.
7. How is Wisconsin Family Ties staffed?
Wisconsin Family Ties has volunteer and paid staff situated in various locations around the state with our main office located in Madison.
8. What makes Wisconsin Family Ties unique?
Wisconsin Family Ties is a statewide organization in Wisconsin organized and run by families for families that include children with emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders. We have a unique perspective on the issues and concerns faced by families ``because we've been there too."
9. How is Wisconsin Family Ties funded?
Wisconsin Family Ties is funded through federal, state and county grants and purchase of service contracts, corporate donations, and foundation grants and the donations of people who are concerned that all children regardless of their disabilities deserve to lead successful lives.
10. How is the money donated to Wisconsin Family Ties used and is my gift tax-deductible?
Your gift to Wisconsin Family Ties is tax-deductible as allowed by law. For the tax deductibility of specific types of gifts such as bequests, memorial donations, stocks or gift annuities an accountant or attorney should be consulted.
11. How can I get involved in Wisconsin Family Ties?
There are a number of different ways to be involved in Wisconsin Family Ties. We are always grateful for people who are interested in helping us to accomplish our mission of providing greater understanding, acceptance, and support in the community for our families.Wisconsin Family Ties is looking for people who are interested in:
To get involved or for more specific information contact the office:
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