The Parent Partners program includes innovative changes in social work practice. It celebrates individuals who have overcome obstacles through change, recovery, and accountability, and uses their skills to mentor families who are currently navigating through the child welfare system as their children are in foster or kinship care. Parent Partners demonstrate advocacy and effective communication while holding families accountable.
The Parent Partners mentorship is a key strategy to improving practice with families, but it cannot stand alone. Parent Partners network within communities and partner directly with DHS, child welfare staff, systems, and agencies. Parent Partners collaborate with social workers and providers to meet the needs of families, assist in policy and program development, change perceptions in communities, and facilitate trainings and learning opportunities.
The Parent Partners approach includes validating parents experiences and opinions to make changes in child welfare that will assist families in reunification and keeping children safe. Parent Partners meet with social workers, counselors, attorneys, and others regularly to assess progress, and are able to help professionals empathetically and productively interpret the patterns, behaviors, and needs of families.
Parent Partners and DHS commit to multiple joint-learning opportunities. Examples include, but are not limited to: Parent Partners, allies, and aides attending meetings, workgroups, and trainings within DHS offices to foster cultural change and build relationships; assisting DHS in meetings, committees, task teams, presentations, conferences, etc. to incorporate parent perspective; and instilling Community Partnerships' four strategies and mission.
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