What Is a Family Peer Support Specialist?
An individual with lived experience as the primary caregiver or parent of a child or children for whom they have navigated multiple child serving systems (mental health, juvenile Justice, child protective services, education), on behalf of their child/children with social, emotional, developmental, health and or behavioral health needs and who have had a behavioral health diagnosis for minimum of one year.
Family Peer Support Specialists in Ohio are also known as:
- parent support professionals
- family partners
- parent partners
How Does Someone Become a Family Peer Support Specialist?
Individuals must complete the required 44 hours of training and document their experience as a parent of a child who was served in the System of Care and pass the examination to receive a NAMI Certificate of Completion for Family Peer Support
A Family Peer Support Specialist has:
- Lived experience navigating systems of care in Ohio for at least one year.
- Met the educational criteria for certification.
- Passed the test.
What Do Family Peer Support Specialists Offer?
Family Peer Support Specialist services may include:
- Providing empathetic listening and emotional support
- Assisting families in navigating systems
- Supplying information about child‐serving systems, children’s behavioral health and development, and community resources
- Rendering advocacy support
- Encouraging self‐care activities
- Facilitating familial engagement with service providers
- Modeling collaboration between families and professionals
- Engaging in safety and care planning; exploring and eliminating barriers to care plan follow‐through
- Offering skill‐building for parents that enhances resiliency, communication, advocacy and other areas affecting the ability to maintain a child with complex needs in the home, school and community
- Sharing personal stories
- Providing HOPE
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My family was involved in a variety of services with our Family and Children First council, and wrap around community. Once I began to work with a parent peer supporter, I felt that I had a person in my corner who understood and worked just for me and my family. It made a huge difference. I learned how to be a voice for my family, she helped me educate myself so I had a knowledgeable voice at the systems of care table. She was compassionate and understanding because she had gone through exactly what I was going through.