Families Connected News

Many changes are coming to Families Connected, the family organization providing peer to peer support to families enrolled in Wraparound. 

First of all, Families Connected now has tax exempt status, which means we are a non-profit group and are eligible to apply for grants, as well as, accept donations and hold fundraisers. We have been able to provide services for a number of years through the ongoing support from the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD), who has given us space to house our parent leaders, and contracts through anumber of agencies. 

Clermont FAST TRAC, through the Mental Health & Recovery Board, will now be contracting directly with Families Connected for the Lead Family Contact and the Peer Support Partner positions to support families who have children with mental health and behavioral challenges. Families Connected also provides parent leaders to provide support to parents involved with the Help Me Grow program through a contract with Clermont County DD.  Additionally, two parent leaders provide educational support to families within the county.  Educational support is not funded by any contracts, but is provided by the parent leaders volunteering their time. 

Another change occurring is that the Lead Family Contact role will now be a shared position as I reduce the number of hours I work.  Becky Ploucha, who is currently a Peer Support Partner (PSP), will be sharing the position while maintaining a reduced number of families on her PSP caseload.  We have just welcomed our newest PSP, Sharon Craig, and she is very excited to be meeting and talking with families.

Thanks to the support provided by FAST TRAC, Families Connected will have the opportunity for sustainability to continue providing services and supports to families.  We want to offer caregivers the opportunity to join the FAST TRAC Advisory group, become involved in workgroups or enroll in the upcoming leadership series which will begin in early 2014.  We have had 25 Family Leadership graduates to date and most of them have become involved within the community as trainers, advocates for others, interviewers for FAST TRAC, Parent Representatives on the Family and Children First Council, members of the Governing Board of Families Connected, or part of the Family Advisory Council for FAST TRAC and Families Connected.  Family members are encouraged to participate in our family activities and to assist with planning the Family and Youth Conference planned for May 2014.  Awareness of the importance of peer support is widely embraced by many in the field of human services. Participation in any of the above mentioned areas can help spread the word about the importance of peer support.

The opportunity to establish a Sibshop series for the brothers and sisters of youth with disabilities has also been made possible through FAST TRAC.  The series starts on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at the Child Focus Training Center in Mt Carmel.  Trained parents, who were trained by Don Meyer, the creator of Sibshops, along with myself, will be facilitating the three hour sessions.  

Families Connected is an organization comprised of parents or caregivers of children and adults who have children with disabilities and strive to assist families to self-advocate for their children, as well as, learn how to advocate for others as they navigate systems for their own children.   Their mission: “To support and connect families who have a member with a disability.” Phone number: 513-732-5034 email:fconnect@clermontdd.org Website: www.clermontcountyfamiliesconnected.org