Parent Advocacy
 
Peer Parent Program
The Peer Parent Program was designed to provide comprehensive peer-to-peer mentoring services for San Francisco families involved with the Child Protective Services (CPS) or families with children involved with the Juvenile Probation Department (JPD).  Peer Parents seek to increase the rate with which parents involved with CPS are able to successfully reunify with their children and to decrease the duration of out-of-home-placements for Juvenile Probation youth and improve outcomes for these youth as they reintegrate with the community. 
Parents involved with CPS or JPD are matched with Peer Parents who help parents develop and demonstrate the insights, skills, relationships, and protective capacities needed to:
• Navigate the Child Welfare System,

• Address safety concerns, and

• Reunify with their children (if appropriate).

Peer Parents have personal experience – and personal success – navigating the multiple stressors (e.g., financial stress, housing difficulties, substance use, mental health challenges, community violence, etc.) that might have led to Child Welfare System or Juvenile Probation Department involvement.  With professional development, specialized training and support, they are able to turn their experience into expertise – offering hope and guidance to other parents who are currently struggling to keep their children safe.

Core components of the program include:

Team Meetings (Team Decision Making or Child and Family Team): These meetings involve families, workers, professional supports, and natural supports involved with a child’s family.  They are held when there are serious risks to a child that could result in out-of-home placement or to determine best course of action for reunifying a child.  Peer Parents insure that parents know their rights as parents and have a voice at each team meeting. Peer Parents support parents to have their concerns and desires taken into consideration during these meetings.

Case Work: Peer Parents assist parents in making the life choices that will limit risk and increase safety for their children.  They help parents work through case plans, modify their behaviors, access resources, develop natural support systems and implement important tools to manage parenting responsibilities.

Support Groups: Peer Parents services include facilitating support groups for parents to learn from one another and discuss how to navigate CPS and JPD systems.

Committees and Workgroups: Peer Parents also provide outreach and consultation to other programs, committees, and workgroups within San Francisco County to assure that the “Family Voice” is represented. These activities include a Parent Advisory Council to ensure that parents who have been involved with the CPS or JPD systems have a chance to reflect on their experience and express their needs.