Parents as Collaborative Leaders

The Whole Child Health Section in the Division of Child and Family Well-being has assembled a group of parent leaders and trained them to facilitate the nationally recognized, research-based curriculum, “Parents as Collaborative Leaders.”  These parents are passionate about teaching others who have children with a variety of special health care needs and/or developmental concerns to become effective leaders in their communities, at the state and national level. The trainings have been used to support parents in being more active and confident at the table in a variety of educational, medical, and community settings. The trainings are offered at no cost, as a series, or as a choice of select modules according to group needs, and are available in English and Spanish. 

Fast Facts

Relevant Actions
State or Local? State
Lead Agency Whole Child Health Section, Division of Child and Family Well-being, DHHS
Type of Agency

State/Local Government Agency

Racial Equity Lens
  • One of the parent leadership training modules, “Understanding Diversity” (Module 10), identifies ways each of us represents some form of diversity, defines the benefits and challenges of collaboration involving people from diverse backgrounds, and considers ways to promote the benefits of diversity in future collaborative situations.
Community Voice
  • Parents as Collaborative Leaders uses a peer-to-peer training model. Parent leaders of children with special health care needs are trained to facilitate the trainings to other parents of children with special health care needs. The trainers are from a variety of backgrounds and serve the communities from which they belong. There are several bilingual trainers who can conduct the trainings in English or Spanish.
  • From June 2020 to May 2022, 81 parent leadership trainings have been conducted (51 in English, 30 in Spanish) to 526 participants.
  • Participants have said, “I feel more confident in my ability to participate more effectively in group settings and realize I have a leadership role” and “The information and skills I developed today will allow me to be a more confident and more effective leader in the groups in which I already participate.”
Next Steps
  • The Whole Child Health Section plans to expand the parent training cadre to include free parent trainings about sexual health for children with disabilities and medical home using the peer-to-peer model. Both trainings are currently under development, engaging parents of children with special health care needs to inform the content.
Primary Funders
  • The Whole Child Health Section reimburses family partners who serve as trainers for the parent leadership training through funding provided by the Title V, Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.
Contact Holly Shoun

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