PPAL in Print
December 2021
PPAL at 30
Did You Know?
Like many of our sister organizations in other states, PPAL started with a group of volunteers who met in someone's living room. The volunteers ran support groups (often out of their own living rooms). They met with PPAL's first director, June Gross, who was determined to grow this fledgling effort into an organization. Sometimes the volunteers brainstormed, and sometimes they wondered how to reach parents of children with mental health needs. Together, they thought, “we can create something wonderful.” And so they did.
Champion to Thousands in the Commonwealth Retires
Best Wishes to Commissioner Forbes!
PPAL is saddened to hear of the retirement of Commissioner Peter Forbes from the Department of Youth Services (DYS). 

With dedication and commitment, Forbes championed families, youth and children in a way that has changed the map for so many. Forbes was instrumental in building a foundation of family engagement and partnership with PPAL that has pushed DYS and other partners to include parent, caregiver and youth voices in everything from policies and practices to day to day connections. Our deepest appreciation goes out to Commissioner Forbes and the hard work he valued. He has made a long-term impact on many lives. 

Meri Viano, PPAL’s Associate Director, remarks that "Commissioner Forbes is a leader that took a vision and made it reality. I remember the many conversations we have had and always took away lessons from him and noticed nuggets that he took from me. The partnership with Peter will not be one that can be replaced. We all share a unique sense of gratitude for the trust he had in PPAL and the many ways he helped DYS push the envelope to engage families. He is a tall man with a huge heart! Thank you, Commissioner!"
Multi-Cultural Outreach Team Makes Connections, Inspires Future Family Partners
Would You Like to Get Involved with Our Work?
The Multicultural team has been attending System of Care (SOC) meetings, including Dimock SOC and Park Street SOC. These meetings are informative and have helped our team stay up-to-date on new resources, such as those for basic needs like clothing, food and housing. 
Our team has also started a Community Health Worker (CHW)/Family Partner (FP) panel, with the first meetings taking place on December 6th and 14th. The panel will meet every two weeks going forward. Participating families have shared that they found it “wonderful” and “informative.” One parent said that she feels good to learn that she can help others the way she was helped herself. Many families have felt empowered by the panel and have become interested in becoming a CHW or FP. 
We have also reached out to providers in the community and have made plans to partner with them in 2022. Finally, we have worked on translating our tip sheets into different languages. So far, we have translated our tips sheets into Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. We look forward to continuing this project!
Juvenile Justice Hosts
Parenting Series
Our Team Continues to Provide One-on-One Support
Our six-week training series, “Active Parenting of Teens,” wrapped up on December 20. Participants said they were happy to get involved because it “takes a village” to raise kids, because they felt heard, and because great resources were exchanged. Teacher and PPAL Juvenile Justice coordinator Candice Gabrey mailed goodie bags to graduates of this series. The bags contained mirrors to remind participants to “keep shining” as they continue the tough journey of parenting teens. 

Look out for a second “Active Parenting of Teens” series starting on February 2, 2022! Sign up today by emailing us. Space is limited!

The Juvenile Justice program continues to support many parents and young people. Recent needs include schools taking parents and kids to court for truancy rather than addressing the underlying causes of school-related anxiety and avoidance, as well as ongoing support to help parents find lawyers and understand the steps to take when brought into court. 
PPAL's Question of the Month: How Are You Doing?
Visit Our Website to Answer the Latest Questions
At PPAL, we want to know how the children's mental health system is working for families. We find that the people who have some of the best information are rarely asked. With our Questions of the Month, we are reaching out to to individuals who are raising a child or supporting a young adult with behavioral health needs - and individuals working closely with someone who is - to find out what they are experiencing.

We know what it takes to support a child or young adult with behavioral health needs! In December, we asked three questions about how you are doing. Here is what you shared:

In January, we want to know: How's the school year going? Answer 3 short questions on our website here.

Check Out PPAL's YouTube Channel
Get Advice, Tips, & More!
PPAL’s YouTube channel is jam-packed with tips, advice, and useful information for families of kids with mental health needs. Here are just a few examples:

For more helpful tips, check out our Facebook live 2021 playlist, or browse our YouTube channel. Subscribe today!

Stay tuned for new PPAL Facebook Live and YouTube videos in 2022!
New Report Highlights Family Support During Pandemic
Read Our Latest Report
The pandemic upended life for families in America, and families whose children have mental health needs were particularly hard hit. Our family support team did not miss a beat during this time. Families sought out 1 to 1 family support as well as virtual support groups and Facebook groups. PPAL’s new report, Coping During COVID: How Parents Rated Family Peer Support, analyzes how families of children with mental health needs have received support during the pandemic.

Did you know that families valued 1 to 1 family support more than support groups or Facebook groups, but found it even more effective to combine the three? Did you know that families of color valued 1 to 1 support even more highly than did white families? That during the pandemic, 80% of families moved online for support and community?

Learn about these details and our other findings and recommendations in our newly-released report here.
Parent/Professional Advocacy League