Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA (1888PressRelease) September 03, 2017 - Parents, families, friends, community-based organizations, and government agencies serving children and families gathered in Norwalk’s New Harvest Christian Fellowship Church for a one of a kind Leadership Summit, “Strengthening Families For All Children to Thrive.” Spearheaded by Harbor Regional Center, 211 LA County, and Family Outreach Community Integration Services (F.O.C.I.S.) of Norwalk, this summit launched an exciting new “Parents as Partners” program.
The program collaboratively supports families for parents who have children with developmental disabilities, especially those who have had challenges in accessing services, by bringing together parents, regional center service coordinators, parent peer mentors, public and nonprofit service providers, community-based organizations, and churches. The program uses the Strengthening Families and Protective Factor evidence-based framework from the Center for Social Policy. Norwalk Councilman Tony Ayala said he was amazed by the strategic convening of organizations coming together to work on a more integrated service system for children and families. Being able to identify, engage, find resources and form partnerships is so valuable - “It dovetails with the City of Norwalk programs,” he added.
The next event for the “Parents as Partners” Program is a FREE Family Fun Day on September 16, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. hosted at F.O.C.I. S, located at 11364 Imperial Highway, Norwalk, CA 90650. The event will include engaging fun activities for children, abundant community resources for parents and opportunities to network and build community partnerships. The Parents as Partners Program launched first in Norwalk with plans to expand to other cities served by Harbor Regional Center. RSVP at 1-855-639-0648 or at carecoordination ( @ ) 211la dot org dot
The Leadership Summit’s host, Pastor Richard Salazar, President of F.O.C.I.S., said about the Summit and the promise the Parents as Partners Program brings for families, “I sensed an overwhelming commitment, love and genuine desire to support families with children that have special needs.”
Powerful testimonials from parents who have experienced firsthand the challenges of meeting the special needs of their children with developmental disabilities touched the audience members and brought home the need for organizations to work together to create a seamless system of care for families to be fully supported.
Patricia Del Monico, Executive Director of the Harbor Regional Center (HRC), which serves 13,000 families in the Long Beach, Harbor, South Bay and Norwalk/Bellflower areas, detailed HRC’s programs and services for children with intellectual and other developmental disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. “At Harbor Regional Center we have heard from families about the challenges they face, and we know how valuable it can be to receive support from another parent who has ‘been there.’ That’s why we’re very excited to bring the Parent Peer Mentor program to families in need of a little more support.”Del Monico emphasized her staff’s commitment to helping parents navigate the service system by adding trained Parent Peer Mentors and a stronger safety-net with community-organizational partners.
The new “Parents as Partners” program is building a system of community support that will help parents obtain community-based services and specialized services needed for their children who have developmental disabilities and are clients of Harbor Regional Center, while providing wraparound support for their families. 211 LA will provide Parent Peer Mentors and Care Coordination support across service systems to work in partnership with Harbor Regional Center’s Service Coordinators, creating an enhanced system of support for families and their children through all of the services and care they need.
Maribel Marin, 211 LA’s Executive Director, recognized all the partners who had come together: “We are thrilled to be joining our amazing partners Harbor Regional Center, F.O.C.I.S and New Harvest Christian Fellowship. By connecting parents to networks of support systems in their communities, we can create sustainable solutions that permanently change the trajectory of children with developmental disabilities and their families.”
Patricia Herrera, MS, 211 LA Program Director and facilitator for the Leadership Summit explained that “alliances and partnerships are formed by doing real work together, sharing resources, and leveraging and adding new value to what exists. Our goal for families with children that have developmental disabilities is inclusion within the full range of community-based organizations and publicly funded programs.”
Nancy Spiegel, Director of Information and Development and Erika Braxton-White, Manager for Diversity and Inclusion for Harbor Regional Center are spearheading the development of the “Parents as Partners” program with 211 LA County.
About Harbor Regional Center: For individuals with developmental disabilities, and their families, Harbor Regional Center (HRC) can provide diagnosis and evaluation, information and referral, individual or family service planning, family support, and assistance in finding and using community resources.
Harbor Regional Center provides intake and assessment services for individuals who live in the HRC service area, and who are believed to have a developmental disability. HRC works with each individual client or family to develop an individual person-centered service plan.
About F.O.C.I.S: Family Outreach and Community Intervention Services, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides many valuable services to Southern California communities through comprehensive counseling, violence education and intervention services, youth and adult addiction recovery, and many other specialized services.
About 211 LA: 211 LA County (or 211 LA) is the hub for community members and community organizations looking for all types of health, human, and social services in Los Angeles County. 211 LA provides nearly 500,000 people every year with information and referrals to the services that best meet their needs, through the 24 hour 2-1-1 call line, or through their website and chat. 211 LA’s purpose is to make community connections to services that meet people’s needs, so that people in LA can survive, thrive, and be empowered, no matter their situation or background.
Alana Hitchcock, Public Affairs Director, 211 LA County, 626 300-1302
Nancy Spiegel, Director of Information and Development, Harbor Regional Center, 310 543-0658
Steven Rosenthal, LA PRPRO, 323 258-1589