We encourage all of our readers
to read this thoughtful Facebook post
by Disability Rights Mississippi and
join us in our profound gratitude to
Lois Curtis, particularly as we await next steps in Mississippi's own
THE MISSISSIPPI STATE LEGISLATURE IS IN SESSION!
The deadline for introductions of general bills was February 17 and the next deadline is for bills to come out of committee in the chamber (Senate or House) they started in on March 3.
If a bill does not come out of committee, it
dies and is no longer considered. You can learn more about how a bill becomes a law
. Timetables for legislation are at this
Two bills that might be of particular interest to families:
House Bill 488
by Representative Carolyn Crawford
adds this language to the current state law about formal state complaints in the education system
If the local school district sends a complaint response to the State Department of Education, a copy of such response shall be simultaneously provided to the child's parents, along with any correspondence and response by the State Department of Education to the public agency."
If you have feedback about whether this bill
should come out of committee, contact
House Education Committee Chairman Richard Bennett . His number at the Capitol is (601)359-2860. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard at (601) 359-3770 and ask to leave a message.
Senate Bill 2610 by Public Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Hob Bryan opens up the state code about the mental health system. That means changes to how the mental health system is set up and operates can be made. If you have suggestions about the state mental health system or feedback about if this bill should come out of committee, you can contact Chairman Bryan at (601)359-2220. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard at (601) 359-3770 and ask to leave a message.
This bill will be discussed in the committee meeting at 3 PM on Tuesday, February 25 in room 216 of the Capitol. We encourage all of you to attend.
In general, phone calls are more effective than emails when sharing your feedback
COMING IN MARCH:
Mental Health and
Wellness Day at the Capitol
MARCH 11, 2020
MISSISSIPPI STATE CAPITOL BUILDING
400 High Street
Jackson, MS 39201
8:00am to 11:00am
For more info
contact Kay Daneault at
Get Ready For
31 Days of Giving in May!
Because we were selected
12 Days of Giving
have the opportunity to join with
Sal and Mookies, Bravo and Broad St.
during the month of May
to honor Children's Mental
Health Awareness and raise money for Families as Allies.
We look forward to all of you
partnering with us to raise awareness and also have lots of coffee, pizza, pasta and ice cream along the way!
THANK YOU FOR
SHOP WITH US!
WE SUPPORT EACH OTHER AND WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR OUR CHILDREN
We support each other and work together to make things better for
these are the words
we use to describe the core work of Families as Allies. What do these words really mean when difficult things happen and it's hard to trust anyone
There's been tough news over the past few weeks - some families were notified that their children were losing their
Disabled Child Living at Home Medicaid benefits, and then news broke that six employees of the Department of Human Services and the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) had allegedly been involved in an embezzlement scheme of historical proportions. Then historic floods hit central Mississippi, displacing hundreds of families.
I won't pretend there are simple solutions for these painful
situations, but I will make three commitments to you on behalf of Families as Allies.
1) We commit to providing practical support during difficult times
. For families dealing with the loss of Medicaid benefits, we encourage you to access
all of the rights available to you
, including hearings and appeals,
as described on the Division of Medicaid's website and to contact
Disability Rights Mississippi
or a private attorney for additional legal advice. For families who are interested learning how to work with state systems to make policies as effective as possible, check out our upcoming leadership training sessions in
on March 6 and
on March 20.
2) We commit to sharing as much information as possible, including about Families as Allies, with you. Some people have asked if we are part of Families First, one of the non-profits associated with MCEC. We are not, but we do occasionally work with Families First staff, most recently to conduct focus groups with kinship care families this past August. We have never received funding from any non-profit associated with MCEC but did have a pending contract for a $75,000 sub-grant to provide parent education and support at the time this news broke.
One way to learn more about how non-profits use their funds is to examine their 990s, the IRS returns non-profits are required to file. You can see Families as Allies 990s here. We encourage all non-profits to make their 990s readily available to families and the general public.
We commit to making practical, vetted information about supporting your child's mental health readily available to you.
We do this online and through training. This
from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network on
helping your child cope with flooding
may be particularly helpful right now. Check out our
on our website for additional mental health information and don't forget to
for our February 26 webinar:
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CAME
TO OUR 6TH ANNUAL OPEN HOUSE
AND GAVE US FEEDBACK!
We are always focused on gathering feedback from parents, caregivers and families, as well as other stakeholders. At our open house in January we asked those who attended the following questions, and here's some of the responses that we got:
) How can we make all the systems that serve our children
better in 2020:
"Collaborate more and work together, communicate more and eliminate silos, be more involved in the schools, advocate with DHS to help those in the foster system, evaluate the systems/programs and include families in that process, provide support to children and families, train parents and get them to realize they are their child's biggest advocate, make sure the systems are truly centered around the families."
) How can Families as Allies make things better for our children
"Be a resource for families, trainings--leadership training, schools--provide in school trainings to teachers and educators and help with literacy efforts, encourage more collaboration with families, help kids in the juvenile justice system, continue to let the community know who you are and what you do, keep advocating for more outpatient mental health services, connect issues affecting children to the communities who can actually help them."
) What do you think the role of a family-run organization is in 2020?
Help put core values of families back in the center--involve more families, empower them, and educate families to thrive on their own, continue educating on advocacy and peer support so that families can take on leadership roles, help families identify their underlying needs, provide support to people who have been through the same challenges as ourselves."
MONTHLY WEBINARS AND
PEER SUPPORT COACHING
KICKOFF IN FEBRUARY
On the third Wednesday of every month we are doing a virtual support and coaching session from noon to 1 PM that's open to any parent providing support to other parents, including family partners and parent peer support specialists. Our first session got off to a great start on February 19! Sign up for upcoming sessions
of every month, starting with February 26, we will host a webinar from noon-1 for families and anyone supporting families. February's webinar will be
"Partnering in Your Child's Behavioral Health Care:
How Do I Know If My Child Needs Help and
Where Do I Go If They Do?" Register here.
MEET OUR NEW INTERNS:
TAYLOR PAYNE and
ere's a short video that introduces you to our
three new interns
from Jackson State University,
Davida Kilpatrick, Taylor Payne and
We are so happy to have them join us and become part
the Families as Allies family!