About Parent to Parent Support Services for Special Needs Caregivers
Parent to Parent of New York State builds a supportive network of families to reduce isolation and empower those who care for people with developmental disabilities or special healthcare needs to navigate and influence service systems and make informed decisions.
As a statewide network of parents who provide emotional support to families of individuals with special needs, we believe in the power of parents and family members helping each other. We believe that this connection among parents and family members reduces isolation, increases acceptance, and fosters the pursuit of dreams through the sharing of experience and information.
Overview of Parent to Parent of New York State
Parent to Parent of New York State, which began in 1994, is a statewide not for profit organization established to support and connect families of individuals with special needs. We have several offices located throughout New York State staffed by Regional Coordinators who are parents or close relatives of individuals with special needs.
Parent to Parent of NYS is where families of individuals with special needs and the professionals who serve them can meet and share information.
We are on the same journey and are here to help other families:
- Support – We offer parents/caregivers the opportunity to connect one-to-one with a parent/caregiver of an individual with the same or similar disability or special health care need – someone who has “been there.”
- Information & Referral – We help families and professionals locate the information and services they need
- Training – Workshops are available on various topics to both family and professional audiences
What is Parent to Parent?
Parent to parent support offers a parent of a person with a developmental disability or special health care need the opportunity to be connected one-to-one with another parent who knows first-hand about the feelings and realities that come with having a family member with a disability or chronic illness. Through the one-to-one match the experienced support parent provides emotional support to the referral parent and assists them in finding information and resources. Research on parent to parent programs indicates:
- Parent to Parent support increases parents’ sense of being able to cope.
- Parent to Parent support increases parents’ acceptance of their situation.
- Parent to Parent helps parents make progress on the need they present when they first contact a Parent to Parent program.
- Over 80% of parents find Parent to Parent support to be helpful.
Brief History of Parent to Parent of New York State
The first formally organized parent to parent program in the United States, The Pilot Parents Program, was started around 1970 in Omaha, Nebraska, by a young mother with a child with Down syndrome. By 1990 over 500 programs existed with at least one local parent to parent program in every state and a statewide program in more than 30 states. In New York State local parent to parent groups attended Family Support Council meetings and brought attention to the need for these groups to unite. Parent to Parent of New York State was conceived as a way to link parents and parent organizations already in existence and help coordinate their efforts to help one another.
Several groups across New York State providing local parent to parent support agreed upon:
- The need for such a service to families in their locality to continue to grow
- The practicality of developing a statewide organization that could put people in touch over a greater area if no appropriate parents could be found locally,
- The generally accepted format and training that has been used in Parent to Parent groups across the county,
- The benefits to be gained from the ability to exchange information readily statewide.
The Parent to Parent of New York State project began September 1, 1994, with Linda Rippel as Project Director and incorporated as a stand-alone organization in 1999. We are grateful to all the visionary leaders upon whose shoulders we stand.