About Your Family Support System

Families_Connected_logo_CFFamilies Connected of Clermont County is a grassroots parent organization that was founded by two parents with a passion “to help” children and adults with disabilities.  Through the passion and devotion of Jean Houston and Brenda Cox, who had the desire to inform and empower other families, a family disability organization was born!  Though the two had worked together since meeting in 1992, Families Connected was formed in 1999 when a grant from the Mental Health and Recovery Board was received and the Clermont Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD) found space for the families to gather at the Wildey facility.

Families Connected was started to “support and connect families who have a member with a disability.”  They provide services parent to parent, with no charge to families.  They have the unique situation of receiving support and funding from both the DD and mental health systems in Clermont County.  Their services are providing resources and referrals to community agencies and support groups, educational advocacy, and Peer to Peer support in the mental health field.  They work toward making all families aware of their options and strive to help them become educated about systems, including special education mandates.  They believe families who have knowledge are more informed to make good decisions for their children and families.

Families Connected has evolved since their beginning and have expanded their support through a grant received by the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board in 2009.  This grant is provided through the United States Department of Health & Human Services, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.  A goal of the grant is to enhance and expand mental health services within Clermont County.  Families Connected is the chosen family organization to work within Clermont County toward making a change in how services are provided.

The grant, named FAST TRAC, is working to make changes to how services are delivered.  Services should be family-driven and youth-guided.  This means families and their children are active team members who help make decisions regarding services.  Jean is the Lead Family Contact for FAST TRAC and she supervises four Peer Support Partners, each of whom has had a family member involved in at least one system (i.e. mental health, juvenile court, DD).  The Peer Support Partners have had broad training and have regular in service trainings to better support families and make a difference in their lives.  They are part of the Wraparound team to support families and make contact with families through calls and home visits.  Learn more about Clermont FAST TRAC at www.clermontfasttrac.org.  Learn more about Families Connected by calling 513-732-5034 or visiting the new website: www.clermontcountyfamiliesconnected.org

Families Connected staff also serve as the Help Me Grow Family (HMG) Support Specialists for families of children birth to 3 years.  They provide information regarding trainings, support at meetings at the parent’s request and also provide respite for families enrolled in the Clermont County Help Me Grow program.  This break allows caregivers a chance to re-energize, so they may continue to provide care for their child with a disability.  Brenda provides “Child Find” awareness for HMG, while Lamonica Friedman is the Support Specialist who most often contacts families.   Learn more about Help Me Grow at www.clermonthelpmegrow.com