Family Connections

Overview

Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center's (CPAC) Family Connections program is for parents in Connecticut who have a child with a disability, ages birth to three years old who are receiving services through Connecticut's Birth to Three System. CPAC matches parents, one-on-one, with other experienced parents who also have children with disabilities, and are able to provide answers to questions, a listening ear, resources and guidance. Parent matches are made based on the children's disabilities, ages and location in the state.

We can keep the text below on the landing page or add a link Click here to learn more about the program and how to get involved.

Learning that your child has a disability can be overwhelming and confusing. Many parents of children who have been recently diagnosed are full of questions and concerns. Having one-on-one support from another parent who has "been there" can be helpful in answering your questions and letting you know that you are not alone.

Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center's (CPAC) Family Connections program is for parents in Connecticut who have a child with a disability, ages birth to three years old who are receiving services through Connecticut's Birth to Three System. CPAC matches parents, one-on-one, with other experienced parents who also have children with disabilities, and are able to provide answers to questions, a listening ear, resources and guidance. Parent matches are made based on the children's disabilities, ages and location in the state.

Parents Interested in Receiving Support

Parents of young children with special needs often need a unique kind of support, different than the support that family, friends, and professionals may offer. Connecting with an parent mentor who has "been there" and has first-hand knowledge of the kinds of feelings parents of young children with disabilities face, can be very helpful. This type of one-on-one support often helps parents feel less isolated, more accepting of their situation and encouraged to take charge of their needs and the needs of their child. By sharing their experiences, parent mentors may gain self-understanding and satisfaction knowing that they have helped another parent through a difficult situation. This unique partnership is a win-win situation that benefits both mentee parents and parent mentors.

Parents who are in need of support are matched with parent mentors. Parent mentors offer an empathetic ear and provide mentees the opportunity to share their concerns and feelings. Parent mentors share information and resources, and provide emotional support and guidance in order to assist mentee parents in meeting their own family's unique needs and challenges.

» Complete Online Match Request Form

You can also download the application and complete it offline. Applications can be submitted by email, fax, or printed and mailed in.

Email: familyconnections@cpacinc.org
Fax: (860) 739-7460
Mailing Address:
ATTN: Family Connections
CT Parent Advocacy Center
338 Main Street
Niantic, CT 06357

Parent Mentors

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Family Connections parent mentor. Volunteer parent mentors are vital to the program's success and we greatly appreciate the commitment, time and thought that each mentor puts into helping other parents who face some of the same challenges they went through with their young children.

Family Connections parent mentors share information and resources, and provide emotional support and guidance with parents of children (ages birth to three) who have a developmental delay or disability and who are receiving services through CT Birth to Three System.

Parents of young children with special needs often need a unique kind of support, different than the support that family, friends, and professionals may offer. Connecting with an parent mentor who has "been there" and has first-hand knowledge of the kinds of feelings parents of young children with disabilities face, can be very helpful. This type of one-on-one support often helps parents feel less isolated, more accepting of their situation and encouraged to take charge of their needs and the needs of their child. By sharing their experiences, parent mentors may gain self-understanding and satisfaction knowing that they have helped another parent through a difficult situation. This unique partnership is a win-win situation that benefits both mentee parents and parent mentors.

Please review the Parent Mentor Job Description and Role of the Parent Mentor for more information.

If you are interested in becoming a parent mentor, please fill out the Family Connections Parent Mentor Application and return it to Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center:

Email: familyconnections@cpacinc.org
Fax: (860) 739-7460
Mailing Address:
ATTN: Family Connections
CT Parent Advocacy Center
338 Main Street
Niantic, CT 06357

Applicants who are accepted into Family Connections will be required to complete an online training program and interview prior to being matched with a mentee parent.

Additional Resources

Check out the following websites for more information and resources for families with children ages birth to three with developmental delays or disabilities.

  • Connecticut Birth to Three System - Especially for Families
    The site offers handbooks, information on Individual Family Service Plans, Birth to 5 Newsletters, letters, family support groups, parent rights, dispute resolution and transition.
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for Families
    Visit the site for information on learning and development, childcare programs, stories from other families, blogs and music for young children.
  • Connecticut Office of Early Childhood
    The mission of the Office of Early Childhood is to support all young children in their development by ensuring that early childhood policy, funding and services strengthen the critical role families, providers, educators and communities play in a child's life. The site has information on child development, child care programs and camps, children with delays or disabilities and support for families.

The Family Connector

Families involved with our Families Connections program receive The Family Connector, a quarterly newsletter which aims to address questions about raising a young child with a disability.

Spring 2014
Fall 2014
Fall 2014 (Spanish)
Spring 2016
Spring 2016 (Spanish)

Success Stories

Harper Hope: A Parent's View of the Power of Early Intervention – Rosemary Taylor-Stein, of the HOPE Infant Family Support Program, San Diego County Office of Education, and Karis and Mike Johnson tell about Harper Hope and the role of early intervention. This is an important video for families who are, or will be, receiving early intervention services as well as for current and future early intervention practitioners. In Part 1, Karis and Mike share intimate reflections about their daughter's birth and early months in the NICU; in Part 2, Karis articulately describes and illustrates the role of early intervention in their lives.

We believe that every child can succeed given the appropriate supports and services. Check out the videos below to learn more about two Connecticut families' stories.