September 2020
A Strong Voice at the Table
PPAL Advocates for Justice-Involved Children and Youth
Family and youth voices make a difference. As a member of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Data (JJPAD) Board, PPAL spoke this month regarding the Massachusetts Youth Diversion program, making sure our youth have the support they need. PPAL advocated for our youth to have knowledge of the justice system and the placement options considered in court.

PPAL also had the pleasure of participating in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Youth Justice Design. We shared our ideas for better options and solutions than arresting youths who have mental and behavioral health needs and continuing to put Black and Brown children into detention centers. PPAL continues to work for less police involvement and more involvement by professionals, city workers, and guidance counselors, more mentoring and less tearing families apart.

Becoming an Adult

Complete Our Survey for Youth in Transition!

We are looking for young people (14-27) to take our survey! There is a weekly raffle for a $25 Amazon gift card if you complete it!

Overnight, a teen becomes an adult when they turn 18. Overnight, they are expected to manage everything from health care to finances.

We want to hear from you! Does this really happen overnight, or does it happen over time? Do parents help? What's worked for you?

Click this link and tell us! It takes about 15 minutes.

Worcester Forum Focuses on School District Challenges
On September 23, PPAL's Worcester office hosted, via Zoom, the first Worcester Public School Parents Forum. Twenty-five participants included several parents, Mayor Petty, Superintendent Bienda, DMH Director of Child and Adolescent Services Carly Sebastian, and other key stakeholders. The open conversation strove to strengthen two-way communication between the school and parents, and to encourage collaboration with PPAL.
This past spring, many Worcester students and their parents experienced obstacles and challenges when in-person school gave way to remote learning. The purpose of the forum was not to go backwards, but to foster a collaborative partnership with parents, educators, and community supports as we move forward. Resources were shared and parents were able to ask some of their questions. We believe that working together to support families whose children have mental health needs will help create a more successful school year for all. 
PPAL looks forward to next steps and the continued conversation.


Multicultural Team Builds Connections, Raises Awareness
The Multicultural team has been hard at work reestablishing connections from years past, and making sure our communities are aware of all the new virtual supports PPAL offers families. We are also building an exciting new relationship with the Haitian community and will be working on a forum in October around Juvenile Justice.

On September 15, Meri Viano facilitated a training with Camp Harbor View around the topic of Mental Health, the IEP, and Remote Learning. Ann Berube co-facilitated as a support for parents of transition-aged youth. Twenty-eight families attended, and Camp Harborview praised the presentation and its relevance to families. 

We are also working on bringing a parent perspective on mental health to a local Hispanic TV network. More news on that to come!

Statewide Speaker Garners Rave Reviews

At this month's statewide meeting, Dr. Anthony Hill, Associate Professor of Social Work at Springfield College, joined PPAL for a discussion about empowering children and youth experiencing mental health challenges.

In "Establishing a New Normal: Transforming Pain & Loss into Academic, Social & Emotional Wellness," Dr. Hill talked with 60 parents, caregivers, and professionals about a range of topics, including supporting families and youth experiencing stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, developing strategies for helping families deal with COVID-19 loss, and preparing for the school year with a focus on wellness and connection.  

Families were full of praise for Dr. Hill's presentation. One participant wrote "I enjoyed Dr. Hill very much. He was personable, smart and a great speaker." Others called the meeting "informative," "excellent," and even "fabulous." A final attendee has great plans for Dr. Hill, writing "Dr. Hill went to the heart of the matters we all face, and was fearless speaking the truth. He also engaged listeners the entire time. It was easy to follow him and... be inspired. He should be on NPR."

PPAL looks forward to working with more thoughtful, exciting speakers who can connect our work with mental health to the growing awareness around racial equity!
Documentary Viewing Champions Trauma Sensitivity

On September 16, PPAL's P-TAY support group watched Paper Tigers, a documentary that chronicles a year in the life of high school students who have been affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The film follows the Class of 2013 in a school that prides itself on instituting the Trauma Sensitive Approach into the curriculum. They saw an amazing result when the school teachers and administration learned more about how ACEs impact learning, graduation rates, and the ultimate success of the students. 

A discussion followed the movie, facilitated by Mary-Beth Landy, the Training & Support Specialist for the Recruitment and Training Support Center (RTSC) at the Federation for Children With Special Needs (FCSN), and Carly Sebastian, the DMH Director of Child & Adolescent Services in Central Mass. We learned that when students attend schools that take a positive approach to discipline, students can find healing, support and academic promise. 

The film is a must see for anyone who believes that behavior is communication, and that the connection and support of one caring adult can make all the difference in the world!

This presentation was a collaborative event between PPAL and The Federation for Children with Special Needs.
Follow PPAL on Instagram!
Don't forget to follow PPAL on Instagram - you don't want to miss any of our new series! This week, PPAL staff share back-to-school tips. Whether your school is in-person, hybrid, or fully remote, you're sure to pick up some useful ideas to make the return to school a little easier. Check it out!

A New Look for PPAL
Have you noticed PPAL looking stylish lately? Our logo has undergone a makeover! Check it out and tell us what you think!

Facebook Polls on Hiatus
If you've been following PPAL's Facebook polls, you may have noticed them missing from our page lately. Facebook has taken down this function for the time being, so PPAL hasn't been able to post its usual polls. Stay tuned for more information coming up!
What has PPAL been up to?

Data (July and August 2020):

Calls from families
Juvenile justice calls
Statewide meeting attendance (now virtual)
In service presentations

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