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Parent Peer Support

What is it? Who can benefit from it?

What Is a Parent 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.

Parent Peer Support Specialists in Ohio are also known as:

  • parent support professionals
  • navigators
  • mentors
  • family partners
  • parent partners

How Are Parents Defined?

The term parent refers to the primary caregiver for a child with mental, emotional or behavioral health need.

This Includes:

  • Biological Parents
  • Adoptive Parent s
  • Foster Parents (permanent placement living arrangement) Kinship Caregivers (grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, sibling) 

How Does Someone Become a Parent Peer Support Specialist?

Individuals must complete the required and approved educational hours (27) and experience criteria, complete a background check, and pass the examination to be certified to be called a Certified Parent Peer Support Specialist.

Once this process is complete the person will be added to the Ohio Certified Parent Peer Support Specialist database to begin assisting parents and caregivers in need.

A certified Parent Peer Support Specialist (PPSS) has:

  • Lived experience navigating systems of care in Ohio for at least one year.
  • Met the educational criteria for certification.
  • Passed the certification test.

What Do Certified Parent Peer Support Specialist Offer?

Parent 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

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.

Pamela (parent)