Jean Houston Wins State Award

Jean Houston is co-founder of Families Connected, a grass roots family advocacy organization. For years, Jean has worked tirelessly for the children and families of Clermont County, most often with little to no pay for her efforts. Jean has a desire to support youth and families in obtaining the services and educational supports that they need to succeed.


Over the last 3 years, Jean has been the Lead Family Contact for the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board’s System of Care, called FAST TRAC. She has put her heart into developing a family component in the System of Care. She organizes family educational and fun events that occur at least monthly. She also developed a Family Leadership Training program and the first group of 18 family members is currently attending 6 hour, once a month sessions on Saturdays. Their graduation will occur in May. The intent of the Family Leadership Training is to assist family members in gaining the skills necessary to become effective advocates for their children and to become empowered to work alongside the systems to improve the System of Care. The families are learning about problem solving, budgeting, and the county systems, among other topics. The group has really grown in their knowledge and desire to become more involved in the community and has found support in one another.


A family advisory group, which oversees the family-driven efforts in our county, is organizing a family and youth run conference which will occur on May 5th. A focus of the day is on resiliency and Jean is working with a local family to tell their story of resiliency. This daylong conference is the first of its type in Clermont County and the plan is to hold the conference every two years. Families are doing all the planning, from determining speakers to lunch to raffles to resource tables.


Additionally, Jean supervises four Peer Support Partners (PSPs) who provide peer to peer support to families engaged in the wraparound process. The first PSPs were hired in July 2010 and began providing support to families under Jean’s oversight. We hear positive comments about the support PSPs provide to families, not only from the families themselves, but Juvenile Court, Children’s Protective Services and providers. The goal of the PSP program is to support family members in speaking for themselves, not speaking for them.


Jean has done so much to support families in Clermont County that I could go on and on. We are very lucky to have Jean and Families Connected in our county and appreciate all the work that Jean, the PSPs and Families Connected do.