At Wisconsin Family Ties, our programs empower and support parents of children with emotional and behavioral health challenges. Because we are parents of children with similar needs, we are uniquely equipped to understand the parent perspective and help others understand too.
Wisconsin Family Ties Parent Peer Specialist Program
This program links trained parent peer specialists (PPSs) with parents who, for a variety of reasons, need help and hope. Our PPSs are parents or primary caregivers of children with social, emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges. They use their experience and training to help families navigate the complex systems that serve children. Participation in Wisconsin Family Ties’ PPS Program is voluntary. Services provided to families may include:
- Supplying information so families can better understand and participate in the systems serving their children
- Helping families get their needs met
- Giving emotional support and guidance through a maze of services
- Helping families to identify strategies that they can use in their homes to reduce conflict and encourage prosocial behavior
- Helping families to identify and implement strategies to develop collaborative working relationships with the systems that serve them
- Acting as an objective liaison between families, schools, case managers and service providers
- Advocating for filling gaps in services and supports that can help a child flourish
- Ensuring that school plans are effective and appropriate
- Providing telephone support at times needed by families
- Offering hope and encouragement in challenging times
- Helping families become better advocates for their children
The Parent Peer Specialist Program, supports parents raising children with emotional / behavioral challenges by fostering parent empowerment. Increased parent empowerment1 is correlated with improved child behavior and academic outcomes, enhanced child-parent relations, improved mental health treatment completion, and decreased parental stress2. The Parent Peer Specialist program fosters empowerment through the creation of a one-to-one relationship between a parent-in-need and a trained veteran parent who understands the parent’s needs due to shared experiences. Support and information are provided; independence is fostered.
1Empowerment: “…the ongoing capacity of individuals or groups to act on their own behalf to achieve a greater measure of control over their lives and destinies” (Staples, 1990, p. 30) within the dimensions of levels and expressions (Koren, DeChillo, & Friesen, 1992).
2E.g. (Chacko et al., 2009; Kazdin & Wassell, 2000; Ruffolo, Kuhn, & Evans, 2006.)