Initiative

Family Support Network of North Carolina

The Family Support Network (FSN) of North Carolina promotes and provides supports for families with children ages birth-22 years who have special healthcare needs, developmental disabilities/delays, and mental/behavioral health challenges across the state of North Carolina. FSN supports families as they navigate their world from their child’s birth, by providing information and support in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, through transitions to adulthood with workshops and educational opportunities to prepare families for the future. FSN programs utilize their staff’s lived experience as caregivers of family members with disabilities to prepare community families to access services and resources, gain information and skills, and become strong advocates for their children and families. FSN staff draw on lived experience to help families navigate systems, overcome barriers, and provide peer support.

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Fast Facts

Relevant Actions
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Lead Agency Family Support Network of North Carolina
Type of Agency

Community/Family-Led Group

Racial Equity Lens
  • This network intentionally hires staff from a diverse background with lived experience in order to support all NC families including those from the Hmong population, Spanish speaking populations, the Qualla Boundary, and rural populations.
  • FSN has a contract with Language Line so that any family, no matter their native language, can access FSN services and supports in a language in which they feel most comfortable.
  • FSN programs offer specialized support groups for Black families, Dads, and Spanish speakers.
Community Voice
  • Every FSN affiliate program is required to have an advisory/governing board made up of 25% of families with lived experience.  Each affiliate is required to have 75% of its staff made up of people with lived experience.
  • FSN services are individualized to meet the priorities of each family served.
  • FSN offers statewide and local leadership opportunities for family members to serve on committees, build skills, and become trained parent mentors to others in their community.
Impact
  • In Fiscal Year 2020-2021, FSN achieved the following goals:
    • Enhanced Family Member’s Knowledge by offering One to One Support through Information and Referral services to 1,254people and preparing 245 parents with a variety of training and workshops.
    • Enhanced Family Members’ ability to cope through natural support connections by connecting 129 families to trained parent mentors, providing 10 social activities across the state and offering one to one intensive support to 185 families.
    • Enhanced community capacity to support families of children with disabilities by attending 1800 collaborative activities with other community organizations.
Next Steps
  • Securing funding to reach more families across the state, providing a family leadership institute, and continuing statewide trainings of Parent Mentors based on the FSN Parent Mentor Orientation Training.
  • Promoting more families with lived experience into statewide leadership positions.
  • Providing more skill building opportunities for families to elevate their voices through advocacy and leadership by becoming the first North Carolina statewide network to be certified ambassadors of the Charting the Lifecourse Curriculum.
Primary Partners
  • UNC School of Social Work
  • NC Navigating Care
  • NC Department of Social Services
  • NC Early Intervention
Primary Funders
  • UNC School of Social Work
  • NC Department of Social Services
  • Smart Start Partnership for Children
  • Federal Grants
Contact Laurel Powell

Active Counties