Family Support & Family Involvement: PPAL Survey Just Released

February 06, 2012

The Parent/Professional Advocacy League of Massachusetts just released the first family-driven study of the experience of being a peer support provider. Two key findings to highlight about Parent Support Providers.  One, they said that lived experience was the most important thing they brought to their work — they chose it as a response twice as often as a combination of lived and work experience.  Second, as Parent Support Providers become more experienced they value training on how to do their job less (like wraparound training) and training on specific content more (like training on trauma or special education).”

from the executive summary…
In August and September 2011, Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL) invited people working in parent support provider (PSP) roles (e.g., family partners, family support providers) as well as parents, to participate in one of two surveys. One survey was focused on parent support providers and the other on families whose children have emotional, behavioral and mental health needs.

Massachusetts leads the country in the number of parent support providers and has a significant number who have been on the job for two years or less as well as a large group who has worked five years or more. The first survey was distributed to 150 parent support providers and 90 completed the survey. They represent a range of experience, training and work across the state. Many respondents affirmed that family peer-to-peer support is the foundation of the work of a parent support provider. While training can be essential to successful outcomes, personal experience lays the foundation for the connection and understanding that make this work effective.

The second survey arose out of the changing role of parents. Massachusetts has shifted many of its services and treatments to the home and community and parents are managing at home while being asked to serve on committees, attend focus groups or share their stories. This survey asked parents what supports they needed to keep their children at home and in community. It also queried parents to identify the skills and knowledge necessary to participate in leadership activities. More than 230 families filled out surveys and 27 attended focus groups…

Read the full report here

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