PPAL in Print
August 2021
PPAL at 30
Did You Know?
 In 2000, Massachusetts passed its first of several mental health parity bills. Many organizations, including PPAL, had filed their own legislation to improve the commercial insurance benefits provided for mental health services. PPAL's bill had language to add services for kids in the community to fill the gap between outpatient therapy and inpatient hospitalization. The final bill was signed into law by Governor Paul Celluci in 2000. Attending the signing were PPAL Director Lisa Lambert, then-Parent Coordinator Nancy Collier, then-DMH-Commissioner Marylou Sudders, and parent John Willett.
PPAL Contributes to Boston Globe Article
Learn More about the Emergency Department Boarding Crisis in the August 7 Edition
Many PPAL families are aware that the pressures of the pandemic have led to another crisis, with large numbers of children and youth flooding emergency departments (EDs) in search of mental health care they must sometimes wait weeks to receive. Now, thanks to an August 7 article in the Boston Globe, the rest of Massachusetts is learning of this crisis as well. 

“There aren’t enough beds or workers to treat all the patients in need, and the demand is overwhelming the health care system,” writes Globe staffer Priyanka Dayal McCluskey. “Massachusetts hospitals estimate that more than 500 patients across the state who need mental health treatment are stuck in emergency departments and medical units right now….Many are reeling from the stress and trauma of a pandemic that has upended normal life and stubbornly will not end.” Rather than receiving immediate mental health care, many of these patients - especially children - are languishing in ED or medical beds, receiving a minimum of care while they wait for in-patient psychiatric beds to open up. 

PPAL Director Lisa Lambert was a significant contributor to the article, connecting the Globe with families willing to speak out about their experiences and lending her own thoughts to the piece.

To learn more, read the Globe article - and reach out to PPAL if you’d like help getting your own voice heard!
Complete PPAL's New Pop-Up Survey & Enter to Win!
How Has Family Support Made a Difference for You?
Life has been hard for many families over the last eighteen months. How did you get support? Was it one to one? A Facebook group? Some combination of supports? 

PPAL just put up a pop-up survey to find out more about how families like yours got support during the pandemic. What's a pop-up survey? It's just twenty three questions, takes nine minutes or less and will only be up for about three weeks.

If you participate, you will be entered into a raffle. Two winners each week will receive a $20 Amazon gift card.

We'd like to know if family support - however you have received it - has made a difference for you during the last year and a half.

Take the survey here and be sure to click the link for the raffle at the end.
Visit Our New School Problem-Solving Clinic!
Reach Out to Get Answers to Your School-Related Questions
Have questions or concerns as your children get back to school? Get the answers at PPAL’s new School Problem-Solving Clinic!

These clinics are by appointment, virtually or by phone, and address concerns and questions around school discipline issues, school resource officer (SRO) questions, Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) matters, bullying, and the dos and don'ts when going to court.

These free and confidential appointments are for you!

Join PPAL’s Candice Gabrey weekly from 1-3pm on Tuesdays to get those questions answered.

For more information, visit our website or email juvenilejustice@ppal.net.
Introducing Irlesa
Help Us Welcome Our Hispanic Family Support Group Coordinator!
Meet Irelsa, PPAL’s Hispanic Group Facilitator and Family Support Specialist!

Irelsa was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with an emphasis on always helping her neighbors. This ultimately led her to become a social worker. When she later became a special needs mom to a son with various challenges, this proved to be a good foundation for what life had in store for her. Her son is now 24 years old.

In order to keep helping the Hispanic/Latinx community, Irelsa became a trained Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and a trained Volunteer Foster Care Reviewer for the Department of Children and Families (DCF). These experiences gave her a view on the needs of Hispanic/Latinx families in the area.  

The opportunity to become the Hispanic Support Group facilitator has helped her to work with families where she can support them. As a Spanish speaking person, it is important to her to connect with families and empower them with information and the confidence that there is help available. 

Join Irelsa at PPAL’s Hispanic Support Group every Tuesday from 10am - 12 pm. Visit PPAL’s events page or email Irelsa for more information.
Juvenile Justice Program Supports Families, Hosts Virtual Learning Series
Join Us to Learn about Student Rights & More
During the last couple of months, the Juvenile Justice team has been working hard. We continue to provide one-on-one peer to peer support for justice-involved families. We are reaching families at the preventative level to help keep youth out of court/DYS - and in the community. We encourage parents to engage in all services as well as support groups.  
The juvenile justice team is very excited to host a virtual learning series to address school reopening worries which resulted from or were intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. This learning series is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS). The learning series will have three sessions presented by Sky Kochenour, J.D., and Kathleen Boundy, J.D., of the Center for Law and Education. 

September 15 (1-3 PM): Addressing Student Behavior as an Education Matter

This session will provide a review of school obligations to address challenging behaviors of students with IEPs and 504 plans, and those not identified as having a disability. 

September 29 (1-3 PM): Examining Non-Punitive Strategies and Approaches to Resolving Challenging Behavior 

This session will focus on strategies for managing behavior using non-punitive, non-exclusionary approaches, as well as concerns related to School Resource Officers and the use of 51As and CRAs.
Questions? Want to learn more? Contact the PPAL Juvenile Justice Team at juvenilejustice@ppal.net
PPAL Hosts Table at Family Wellness Event
Sharing Information with the Community
On August 20, PPAL’s Dawn Christie and Dev Kaplan presented a table at a Family Wellness Event sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) and the Home for Little Wanderers. 

The event featured food, dance, games, fun, and vendors, including PPAL. Dawn and Dev were excited to meet families and share information on how PPAL can support them!
Statewide Conference Asks Who's Caring for the Caregiver
Check Out Our Calendar for Upcoming Events
On August 10, our statewide meeting featured Sue Bandeau’s presentation “Who's Taking Care of You: Secondary Trauma and Self Care.” Sue speaks nationally and internationally on trauma, racial justice, family engagement, self-care and more. Sue and her husband, Hector, are lifetime parents of 22 (two by birth, 20 adopted) and have also been foster parents to 75 children. 

Sue discussed knowing yourself, different types of stress and how they affect us, loss, and the stages and types of grief. She also explored the ABCs of secondary trauma, self-care and reflective supervision, using daily questions to guide self reflection and care for others, developing a self-care toolbox and more.

Please join PPAL’s Statewide Conference on the second Tuesday of each month from 10-11:30am. Visit our events calendar for more information!
Parent/Professional Advocacy League