On Pins and Needles Report - by The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC)
While the report focuses on caregivers of adults with mental illness, the findings certainly parallel the experiences of families caring for a child with mental health needs.

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Engaging Parents, Developing Leaders

Yet we know that leaders seeking to improve family engagement and parent participation in programs often face several challenges, including knowing where to start and figuring out which among the myriad possible approaches and strategies to undertake. Indeed, most organizations fall on a continuum when it comes to parent engagement, doing some things really well and needing improvements in other areas. Most leaders struggle to find time to assess what is working and determine the best next step.
This tool aims to address these challenges by enabling a variety of nonprofit leaders to assess their organization’s family engagement and capacity-building activities. It also provides suggestions on realistic next-step strategies. We have grounded all of the provided suggestions in proven or promising practices identified through extensive research by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, as well as insights from leading organizations and parents themselves.

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The Role of Family-Run Organizations in Systems of Care: How Partnerships with States Can Achieve Shared Goals

The roles of family-run organizations highlighted in this document are based on the experience of more than 30 organizations that play a critical role in supporting the families of children, youth, and young adults with behavioral health challenges. They provide invaluable services to assist families to navigate complex services systems and to develop the knowledge and skills they need to improve their lives and the lives of their children. They also have developed partnerships with state and local systems that have incorporated “family voice” into system and policy decisions to ensure that services and supports meet the needs of youth and families.

Their impact has been enormous, and their work has created a paradigm shift in children’s behavioral health towards family-driven, youth-guided systems.

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Growing and Sustaining Parent Engagement – A Toolkit
The Toolkit is a quick and easy guide to help support and sustain parent engagement. It provides how to’s for implementing three powerful strategies communities can use to maintain and grow parent engagement work that is already underway: Creating a Parent Engagement 1)Roadmap, 2)Checklist and 3)Support Network.

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Father Involvement Guide
This guide shares information about the importance of fathers in the lives of their children, and it identifies potential consequences if they are not involved. It also offers strategies for systems and families, especially those who are involved in systems of care, to help fathers become more involved. Section I discusses statistics about the presence and absence of fathers in families. Section II describes effects of fathers’ absence or presence in the lives of their children, and explains why children need an active father in their lives. Section III outlines ways in which systems of care can best support the involvement of fathers in individual and family service plans. Section IV explains how systems of care can involve fathers in all core dimensions of development (including family-driven, youth-guided services/ supports, cultural and linguistic competence, clinical services and structure, governance, social marketing, evaluation, logic model development, strategic planning, the technical assistance plan, and continuous quality improvement). Section V discusses three different cultural perspectives of fatherhood. And more...

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Engaging Families in Child & Youth Mental Health: A Review of Best, Emerging and Promising Practices

The family is a foundational institution across all cultures. Parents are entrusted with the responsibility for taking care of their children. Because parents are essential to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development of their children, it is vital that parents are also involved in their child’s mental health. Parent involvement positively influences the outcome of treatment and empowers them to continue to nurture their child’s development.

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Enhancing Family Advocacy Networks
In 1990, the National Institute of Mental Health funded the development and enhancement of 15 statewide advocacy organizations that were to be controlled and staffed by families of children who have serious emotional disorders. These family advocacy organizations had three major goals: to establish support networks, to advocate for service system reform and to develop statewide family advocacy networks. Seven of these networks worked with sponsoring organizations because they needed assistance and/or could not receive funding directly. This paper proposes a conceptual framework that includes a clear definition of the sponsoring organization’s roles and an analysis of the advantages, limitation and critical issues for the sponsoring organization.

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The Carter Center Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health
The resource guide aims to increase accurate reporting of behavioral health issues, decrease stereotypes, and help journalists better understand mental health substance use issues and access expert resources. “This guide will enhance the ability of journalists covering stories that involve real or perceived mental health issues to report with accuracy, fairness, and sensitivity,” said Dr. Thomas Bornemann, director of the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program. “Ultimately, we hope the guide also leads to an increase in public understanding of behavioral health issues leading to early intervention for people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders.”

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