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Parent Leadership

The Children’s Mental Health and Emotional or Behavioral Disorders Project and PACER Center offer resources, training, and volunteer opportunities for parents who are interested in expanding their skills and understanding on topics that relate to children and youth with mental health or behavioral health challenges.

Resource Articles

  • From experience to influence: The power of a parent’s story

    Through well told stories, parents can encourage and motivate others to understand the challenges and needs of children and youth with disabilities and their families. This resource article provides information to help parents tell their story, from personal experience to influencing change.

  • Know your school district: Tips for Parents

    Parents play a key role in their child’s education. This resource article gives information to help parents learn more about the school district in areas that can influence a student’s educational success.

  • Parents with high expectations: Keys to success in the family-school partnership

    When your child enters school, you and the school become partners in what you both hope will be the successful development and education of your child. This handout will give parents tips for creating a positive and productive partnership with the school.

  • Guidelines for exploring interagency opportunities

    “The most successful parent advisory committees are those with a clear purpose of who is asking for advice, what advice is being sought, and who is committed to hearing and responding to the advice.” (-B. Schwab, 1992) This worksheet can be used by parent leaders to investigate advisory committee opportunities that may be a good fit.

  • Tips for Emerging Family Leaders

    Many families bring leadership skills to the table because of their experiences at work, other service in the community, or simply the skills and traits that they have developed through life experiences. Other family members may be looking at ways to increase their leadership skills so they can take on new responsibilities. Here are some tips that may be helpful for you as an emerging family leader.

Opportunities for Parent Involvement

Summary of Legislation Affecting Children with Mental Health Needs Session

An important component of parent leadership is having knowledge about current legislation affecting children and youth with mental health needs. Some legislation may reflect the experiences, both positive and negative, that you and your child have experienced. Sharing your ideas and experiences help your legislative representatives better understand the impact of those proposals. Your voice counts!

Now that the legislative session is over, you may want to explore the impact of the results. Here are a few links to final legislative summaries regarding mental health.


Parent Leadership Training on Children's Mental Health

Parent Leadership Training on Children’s Mental Health

This January 2018 workshop offers parents information about improvements and progress within our systems of care, and support for children and youth with mental health and behavioral health challenges.


PACER Center offers a variety of volunteering opportunities, and our volunteers offer important value to the work we do for individuals with disabilities and families. If you are a parent leader interested in building new skills, expanding your experiences, or giving back to help others, we encourage you to apply.

Volunteer Interest Form pdf icon