PPAL in Print
March 2021
PPAL at 30
Did You Know?
When PPAL began, many professionals still believed that children needed to be removed from their family to a treatment setting in order to get better. Some spoke of "saving" the child and often blamed the parents for the child's mental health problems. As a result, the options most families had were outpatient therapy or inpatient care. Put simply, there was nothing in the middle. PPAL advocated tirelessly (and often loudly) for more choices for children and families. 

In 2002, PPAL's Worcester office was launched with the motto, "Honoring Families, Celebrating Strengths." Ten parents, with some help from community partners, led support groups and special ed drop-in clinics and started a youth initiative and a sibling group. They showed up and participated in community meetings and soon everyone knew that family voice was here to stay.

PPAL Summit Considers Family Involvement for Transition-Aged Youth of Color
Participants Examine Complex Dynamics
How can families and professionals best support youth of color who are transitioning into adulthood? On March 3, PPAL’s recent summit delved into the complexities of race, mental health, and becoming an adult.

Urban Improve/Rehearsal for Life opened the summit with an engaging improv piece about parents relating to their transition-aged child, and invited participants to share their thoughts and even continue the story by stepping in as actors. Later, Caroline Fernandes spoke about identity and language bias, providing suggestions for how to take biased language out of the discussion of race and mental health. Dr. Anthony Hill of Springfield College gave a presentation on moving from surviving the transition years to thriving, including reflections on the “dual monsters” of COVID-19 and systemic racism. Finally, two parent speakers, Kristi Glenn and Jonathan Mobley, spoke about their personal experiences with parenting, race, and mental health. Participants, who said they came to the training to “deepen my understanding of societal barriers to mental health resources” and to “learn more about racial inequalities in order to be a better ally,” praised the training as “amazing,” “refreshing,” and a “great way to spend my Wednesday morning.”
New Tipsheet Available
Coping During COVID 19
Having trouble waiting for the new normal? Exhausted by remote schooling and counting the days until friends and family can help out again? See suggestions for finding support during the pandemic, as well as pandemic-friendly self-care for parents and caregivers, on PPAL’s new tipsheet. Find it on our website here.
Statewide Meeting Discusses Parents' Legal Rights
How Much Do You Know?
On Tuesday, March 9, PPAL’s monthly Statewide Meeting dug into what parents need to know about 51As and Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) cases during remote learning. Marisol Garcia and Toni Kokenis from Health Law Advocates’ Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids (MHAP for Kids) discussed the rash of 51As and CRAs filed by schools due to concerns arising during the pandemic, and parents’ rights when schools file against them. Did you know that you have a right to refuse DCF social workers entry to your home? That you should not talk about anything for which there might be pending or potential charges? 

Through free legal representation, MHAP for Kids’ attorneys ensure that health insurance companies, state agencies, and school districts provide appropriate mental health services to eligible families, and advocate for diversion from the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare systems. For support and to learn more, visit their website.

Be sure to join us in April for PPAL’s next Statewide Meeting!
Multicultural Team Reaches Out & Cooks Up a Storm!
Look for New Trainings and Classes Monthly
The multicultural outreach team held Family Partner trainings in February and March. The response was so great that we will be doing it monthly moving forward. We have been networking with several racial equity organizations and hope to collaborate with them on new workshops. Our team also started an African Heritage Cooking class for parents of transition-aged youth, which allows parents to have some "me" time and practice some self-care. Finally, we presented a social/emotional workshop at the Boston Spedpac, which was a great success.
New Youth Coordinator Keeps Busy
The Latest from Dev
As the new Youth Coordinator for PPAL, I’ve been up to a plethora of wonderful things. I can honestly say that this has been a very eye opening, humbling experience working in the mental health field in this position. I have been networking and collaborating with people in this field, growing my “tribe,” as I like to call it. This allows me to really dig deep into opportunities just waiting for me. I have been updating our social media on Instagram and Facebook regularly, boosting our presence there. I have been doing virtual meetings with peers, both privately and in virtual support groups. This has been a great experience for me, since connecting with each other by using our mental health stories is one of my favorite ways to relate to someone. I have also done a podcast with Youth MOVE Idaho to share my stigma-crushing story. I have done presentations such as SuccessFest, which was quite the success. I have done professional development at places such as GIFT (Gathering and Inspiring Future Talent) and YALA (Youth Advocate Leadership Academy). I am the official Co-Chair for SYAC (State Young Adult Council). Lastly, one of my goals for the coming year is to share my story in front of an audience at a school.
Join Us on Social Media!
Get Your Daily Dose of Inspiration from PPAL
Start your day with PPAL on Facebook! Look out for our daily parent-centered images - some funny, some heartfelt, all relatable. And don’t forget to watch us every Wednesday at 2 on Facebook Live!

Get Ready for Children's Mental Health Week!
Can You Help Us Make 2021 the Best CMHW Yet?
Children's Mental Health Week is just around the corner! Across the state, hundreds of families and youth, professionals and educators, clinicians and many others promote awareness of how important every child and youth's mental health really is.

This year our theme is:
We are creating a kit of posters, facts, green ribbons and more. Proclamations are being written and plans are being made. We count on everyone to spread the word and bring the spirit of awareness to their community. Stay tuned for more as May approaches!

Want to know more? Email cmhweek@ppal.net!
Parent/Professional Advocacy League