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Element 6: Encouragement of Parent-to-Parent Support and Networking

This element recognizes parent-to-parent support as one of the cornerstones of family-centered care. In a system that is family-centered, professionals look beyond the needs of the child and assist the family to identify and link to ongoing support systems in the community. The premise of parent-to-parent support is that family members are better able to meet the complex needs of the child if they are afforded the opportunity to network with others who are facing similar challenges. Many family members who have taken advantage of and actively participated in community support networks benefit greatly. Practice Considerations

  • Be sensitive to family needs and the need for support.
  • Describe the value of parent-to-parent support.
  • Provide information about resources.
  • Be informed about area support groups and/or encourage families to create support groups, if possible.
  • Recognize the support needs of other family members (grandparents, siblings).
  • Refer family members to support networks.
  • Respect the family's decision whether to participate in community groups
Providers can play a vital role by explaining the importance of parent-to-parent support to the family, offering options of available resources, and facilitating their involvement in local support networks.