The Family Education Series
The Family Education Series is for parents of children with developmental disabilities. This educational series provides parents with important information about; various developmental or behavioral disabilities, how to navigate systems to get children the help they need, planning for their child’s future and how to effectively advocate for children. The Family Education Series provides parents with the information and support they need to make the best decisions for their children. The series offers parents a better understanding of their child’s disability, how to access resources and support to help their children, and how to become advocates to ensure their children get what they need to be successful.
Workshops are free and open to the public. They are held in partnership with the Fall River Public School Department, BMC Healthnet and Fernandes Center for Children and Families at Saint Anne’s Hospital and is held in the evening at one of the Fall River Public Schools. It is designed for parents, foster parents, caretakers and anyone else who is interested in learning more.
Everyone wants the best future possible for their loved ones.
The Family Advocacy Design Sessions can help you realize that future!
What is a design session?
It is a facilitated meeting or series of short meetings with anyone you find supportive to your family member: extended family, friends, teachers, service providers, neighbors, service coordinators, etc. The purpose of the meeting is to develop the best plan for your family member and then build a strategy to make that vision into reality.
What is discussed at a design session?
All the design session discussions are centered around your family member. The facilitator will lead the process by asking lots of questions and writing down the group’s answers to guide the planning. Together the group will develop a sense of direction and will devise dozens of steps to head in that direction. Some of the discussion questions might be:
- What in their past has shaped your family member?
- What brings out the best in them?
- What are your dreams and visions for them?
- What valued roles could we picture them filling to be a full participant in and contributor
to their family, and their community? As a worker? As a volunteer?
- What little things could make their life a bit better?
What will I get out of a design session?
The design session process is very flexible. Together with the facilitator, you decide where and when we meet, how often and for how long. You can invite as many or as few people as you would like; however, to enhance the experience and to add various perspectives, it can be ideal to have many people join the conversation.
Who facilitates these sessions?
A Family Support Advocate (FSA) will work with you throughout the entire process from explaining the process to scheduling the meetings. This is your meeting – you decide who should attend, when it should be held and where you would like to hold the meetings. The FSA helps you navigate the process.
The Family Support Series
The Family Support Series provides information and education on issues and topics that are identified by families. These trainings are held in the community and feature speakers who are experts on topics that affect individuals with developmental disabilities. Topics include: Advocating for the Future, Special Needs Planning, The Concept of Choice, Behavior Management, Social Security Entitlement Benefits and Incentives, Legislative Advocacy and Estate Planning. We partner with state agencies, human service organizations, estate planners, local hospitals and others to organize comprehensive presentations. The series is free and open to anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the resources that are available to help their loved one live as independently as possible.
For the next conference topic and date or for more information, call Marilyn Grubb at (774) 627-2439.
Service Navigation (short term and extended) provides families with an avenue of service planning which can include a Family Advocacy Design Session, a planning process in which the facilitator and a group of supportive family, friends and service providers develop the best plan for your family member and then build a strategy to achieve those ideas. This process is a great way to plan for the best possible future for your loved one and can help in selecting the services and/or supports that can help achieve that future. Collaboratively, a family support plan is developed and services are put into place to help families reach their goals.
Short term Service Navigation is available to any family who feels they need short term case management and support. The family will be paired with a Family Support Advocate (FSA) who will schedule a time to meet with the family to gather information. The FSA will develop a plan to meet the family’s needs, help connect the family to community services and supports, and will follow the progress of the family for a period of time.
Extended Service Navigation requires a referral from the Department of Developmental Services. The Family Support Advocate (FSA) will work with the family on planning and developing a Family Support Plan which outlines the family’s strengths, needs and goals. This service provides ongoing case management to the family over a period of time to help the family reach their goals.
Family Leadership Council
The Family Leadership Council is a group that meets monthly to provide input on topics that are important to families of loved ones with developmental disabilities. The council advises the center on new programming, evaluation and other topics that relate to the Department of Developmental Services.
How do I join the council?
Those interested in joining the council will meet with center staff to gain a better understanding of the expectations of the group. The next step will be to attend an orientation for the group that outlines group rules, and offers information and support to develop leadership abilities of council members. Council members will then meet monthly, at the center, with the council advisor (a staff person who provides ongoing support and direction to the council) and other family members to help influence new program development, evaluation of programming and provide feedback on topics relative to statewide and local issues.
Why should I join?
Your feedback is essential to creating effective programs to help other families of loved ones with disabilities. We view families as being the experts concerning the needs of their families. With your input, we can better create programs that are relevant and appropriate for families of children and adults with disabilities.
Family Support Group
The Family Advocacy and Community Education Center’s Family Support Group is a peer support group that meets weekly to share best practice, discuss issues and receive peer support. The group will follow a peer support curriculum with a trained facilitator leading the group, along with a parent leader, allowing all participants the opportunity to contribute to the group. Peer parent support programs are built on the philosophy that parents have the capacity to develop their own solutions when given the opportunity, encouragement and resources to do so.
- A caring community support group co-led by
parents and a trained facilitator
- A place to vent your parenting stress
- Free child care and adult recreation is provided as needed
Benefits of a family support program:
- Provides on-going support from other parents who understand how you feel
- Assists in dealing with educational, medical and other service agencies
- Gives an opportunity to relieve isolation and form new friendships
- Reinforces positive coping behaviors • Share information, ideas and resources
- Help in time of crisis
The Parent to Parent Mentor Program
The Parent to Parent Mentor Program will engage parents who have demonstrated leadership abilities to mentor parents who are in need of additional support. Parents will receive training and ongoing support!
Family Social Opportunities
Family Social Opportunities will be hosted at the center and will involve parents and their children/family members. Families will get together for fun activities, dinner, movie nights and much more.
Strengthening and Empowering Families
The Family Advocacy and Community Education (FACE) Community and Wellness Center at Letourneau School provides an array of services and supports to help families of all abilities reach their goals. The center staff works as a partner with families and individuals to:
- Provide resource and referral information and support
- Connect residents to job development, health and human services, housing and stateresources and support to help residents obtain employment and stabilize their families
- Connect families and children to school resources and activities, assist with parent
engagement and build the capacity of the schools to support children
- Provide family and parent educational opportunities
- Provide and connect families to preventative health support groups and educational
The FACE Community and Wellness Center at Letourneau School provides the following services to parents of Letourneau students:
- A Resource Center with brochures and information on community services and supports
- Resource referral and case management services
- Parent Education Opportunities (workshops on various topics relative to raising children, managing behaviors, helping children be successful in school)
- Parent Cafés – curriculum based parent support groups
- Parent Support Group – A peer parent support group
- Emergency Food Assistance
- Workforce development opportunities and help place individuals in employment
- Occupational training certifications are hosted at the school
- Soft skills development trainings (resume writing, interview skills, etc.) to be hosted at school
- Career fairs will be coordinated for parents of students
- Job search and case management will be provided to parents of students
For more information on the times that the center is open or for specific group information, please call Yajaira Medeiros at 508-676-2170 ext 2079.