Helpline: 1-800-686-2646 or text NAMI to 741741 namiohio@namiohio.org 1225 Dublin Road, Suite 210, Columbus OH 43215

Parent Advocacy Connection (PAC)

“I appreciate my Parent Advocate. She has supported me and my family through many difficult issues.
I really can relate to her because she is just like me.”
~ Mother

What is the Parent Advocacy Connection (PAC)? 

PAC Mission 

The mission of the PAC Program is to empower, educate, encourage, and equip families to partner with professionals in promoting access to services that are family-centered, community-based, comprehensive, and culturally competent. 

PAC is a NAMI Ohio grassroots program that offers trained Parent Advocates with lived experience who reflect the cultural and ethnic make-up of the families they serve. When children require services from multiple sources (i.e., mental health, schools, juvenile courts, developmental disabilities, and alcohol/drug addiction services agencies), it can be difficult for parents to navigate their way through these various service systems.  Families may become overwhelmed and have difficulty expressing their concerns and the needs of their child(ren).  Ohio’s service coordination process recognizes this challenge and has made support for families available through the Parent Advocacy Connection (PAC). 

What Do Parent Advocates Offer?

PAC Parent Advocates Will: 

  •         Listen and support the parent’s decisions without judgment
  •         Assist in navigating child-serving systems
  •         Help parents understand their rights
  •         Help organize and prepare for meetings
  •         Supply information about child‐serving systems, children’s behavioral health and development, and community
  •         Help parents identify resources
  •         Help reduce loneliness
  •         Provide hope and ideas
  •         Encourage self-care activities
  •         Render advocacy support
  •         Facilitate familial engagement with service providers
  •         Share their own personal lived experience
  •         Model collaboration between families and professionals
  •         Respect a family’s culture
  •         Keep information confidential

If I need assistance, do I have to be a client of the organization where the Parent Advocate is?

No, Parent Advocates are housed at select organizations but may take referrals and work with parents within their county region.  

How can I find a Parent Advocate?

This program is overseen by NAMI Ohio and is funded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services/Ohio Family and Children First and Ohio Department of Youth Services.