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The Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs (OCSHCN) staff includes family consultants who help families find resources, facilitate communication with other staff members, and support parents seeking services for their children.

Family consultants are parents of special needs children, providing OCSHCN with a parent perspective and enhancing OCSHCN efforts to connect other agencies that serve children and families.  Family consultants, and KY-SPIN representatives, are on site at some clinics to be an immediate resource for families.

Family to Family Health Information Centers

OCSHCN has received a Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2F HIC) grant to create centers at OCSHCN offices staffed by support parents (mentors) who are parents of special needs children. Support parents are a key support to families of individuals with special needs. Through the F2F program, parents/caregivers are offered the opportunity to connect one-to-one with a parent/caregiver of an individual with the same or similar special health care need -- someone who has been there.

What is a Support Parent?

A support parent is a veteran parent or primary caregiver of an individual with special health care needs willing to help other families in situations similar to those they have faced. A support parent is a person who wants to reduce the feelings of isolation for other families of individuals with special health care needs and allow others to benefit from their experiences. A support parent provides a safe listening environment and a wealth of information to other families.

Parent Involvement

Parents of OCSHCN patients are involved in:

  • OCSHCN's needs assessment planning for all Kentucky children with special health care needs;
  • Parent Advisory Council meetings;
  • agency strategic planning; and,
  • evaluation of OCSHCN's ability to encourage family participation.

In addition to the needs assessment, OCSHCN has established a goal to identify and develop family leaders for ongoing participation and partnership. Mentoring for families who wish to become active leaders will be provided through partnership with organizations such as KY-SPIN and the Parent Resource Centers.

Best Practices

Best practices that guide the Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs in serving the families of children with special health care needs are:

  • Families of children and youth with special health care needs partner in decision-making and are satisfied with the services they receive.
  • Community-based service systems are organized so families can use them easily.

Parent Advisory Council

Parent Advisory Council (PAC) members are parents of children with special needs who are served or have been served  by OCSHCN. Your child does not have to be a OCSHCN patient to talk with a PAC member.

You can reach the following Parent Advocacy and Involvement staff by calling:

  • (502) 429-4430, or toll-free, (800) 232-1160 (Debbie Gilbert, ext. 2069, Lee Gordon, ext. 2002), or
  • (270) 852-5533, or toll-free, (877) 687-7038 (Sondra Gilbert, ext. 2125).