I am the single parent of five children, residing in Emmett for the past 5 years. My two adult biological children are young adults and my adopted sibling group of three are 8, 9 and 10. My young kids came into my care at ages 4 months, 1 year and 2 1\2. That was the beginning of a challenging and joyful experience.
In the past five years it has been very evident that all three of my littles experience significant developmental delays, trauma and serious emotional disturbance. Prior to moving to the Treasure valley, my son was involved in a beautifully choreographed array of services.
Finding my voice
Since moving to Emmett, I have had to find my voice in both the developmentally disabled services program and Youth Empowerment Services (YES) system of care. It has been slow and it has been challenging, but it has been so rewarding. I have learned so much about children's mental health in Idaho, things that work and services that continue to need tweaking.
I have attended regional mental health boards, I have joined YES work groups, I have attended more meetings and training than I ever thought I would have time for. I have become full of knowledge, found patience in an ever evolving system of care and I have found joy in helping make the system better. I have given public comment, I have been interviewed and showcased on advocacy websites. I have a voice, Idaho is listening and they want to hear from you as well.
What I learned
What I have learned through my advocacy is that I am the expert on my children. I know that I must become an expert and a savvy navigator of the system, often educating providers. I have learned that I must speak up for my children and our family, because at the end of the day we are a family and we deserve joy, happiness and a good quality of life.