FAMILY PARTNERS
Training family members to help the next wave of families in need

Family Partners are parents or caregivers who provide support to families with children ages birth through 21, who receive services in the Alameda County Behavioral Healthcare System. Family Partners have raised children with behavioral or emotional challenges and have extensive peer training. They bring personal experience and training to families as peers who have “been there and can help.”

 

“Self-care is taking time to do something relaxing before I plunge into facing difficult problems.”

DANIEL VÁSQUEZ
Mental Health Family Partner, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland
Family partners, Daniel Vásquez (left) and Allison Massey (right) with Rosa Warder, Manager, Office of Family Empowerment (center). Photo by Tue Nam Ton.
“I empower families lost in the challenges they face raising a child with mental health concerns.”

ALLISON MASSEY
Program Director, Family Partnership Program, Alameda County BHCS
 
What do you find rewarding about your job?”

Their facial expression when they meet someone who has had similar experiences and found solutions. For the dads especially, I’m a professional and face the same things. I share with them how it’s OK to ask questions.

Some school staff and clinicians acknowledge that they never thought about the family’s perspective. I provide “Ah-ha” moments for professionals, as well as for family members.

How does helping other families give you new perspectives on your own family situation?”

I ask the Dads and Moms, “What are you doing for self-care?” It’s a reminder to me, to make sure that I don’t burn myself out. It does not have to cost anything. It could be a walk outdoors or listening to a favorite song before a stressful situation.
What do you find rewarding about your job?”

Empowering parents and caregivers; giving them hope. Families can feel stuck or lost in the challenges they face raising a child with behavioral and mental health concerns. There are challenges with their child at home, with the special education system and with finding and working with behavioral health providers. I talk about the frustrations I have dealt with and overcome, encouraging them. Their outlook changes as they feel supported.


How does helping other families give you new perspectives on your own family situation?”

I see myself in so many of the families I work with. As I help them, I think about how I can handle things differently in my own family. There isn’t just one way of doing things. I see the progress I make and that the families I help make.

 

For information, contact
Rosa Warder, MS, MFA, Manager, Office of Family Empowerment
510-567-8037 RWarder@acbhcs.org


 


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Peers: Transforming Hurt to Help

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