Agencies interested in bringing Parent Support Partner services to your community click here.
Michigan’s Parent Support Partner model is a statewide initiative in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that provides Medicaid reimbursable peer-to-peer parent support to eligible families as a part of Michigan’s Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment State Plan.
ACMH provides statewide coordination for the project in the form of certification, training and ongoing coaching, supervision, support and technical assistance.
The Parent Support Partner (PSP) service is an intervention that supports families whose children receive services through a community mental health service provider.
The purpose of the Parent Support Partner Service is to increase family involvement, voice and engagement within the mental health treatment process and to equip parents with the skills necessary to address the challenges of raising a youth with special needs thus improving outcomes for youth with serious emotional disturbance and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities, including autism involved with the public mental health system.
The PSP service is provided by parents or primary caregivers with first-hand experience navigating public child serving agencies and raising a child with mental health or developmental challenges. Support provided to a family by a PSP will focus on increasing confidence as they find their voice when partnering with service providers, and will empower the parent to develop sustainable, natural support networks after formal service delivery has ended. Parent Support Partners, serving as an equal member of the treatment team, will assist in identifying goals within the Family Centered Plan that will support the parent to find their voice and confidence in parenting a child with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and/or intellectual developmental disabilities (I/DD), including autism.
Parent Support Partners enhance the therapeutic process by increasing engagement expanding and increasing skills, knowledge and abilities so they can better partner with service providers.
What exactly do Parent Support Partners do?
• Provide peer delivered support to parents/primary caregivers of children and youth with SED/IDD, including autism, in the public mental health system
• Support parents to identify services that are meaningful and beneficial for their family.
• Demonstrate effective communication & collaboration
• Supports parents to build confidence to use their voice as they navigate child serving systems
• Work individually with families whose children are receiving CMH services to provide additional supports and skill building to partner with service providers
• Build and nurture relationships with the family and others working with the family
• Support parent/ primary caregiver participation in all family driven-youth guided practices including development of a plan of service, treatment, choosing and guiding services and supports and assisting in development of goals related to Parent Support Partner services
• Team with others providing services and supports
• Encourage the family to ask questions so they can make informed decisions on what is best for their child and family
• Provide support and encouragement for parents/family members to speak for themselves
• Empower parents to prepare for meetings regarding their child
• Provide hope through strategic sharing of lived experience
Benefits of the Parent Support Partner Service include:
• Improved Health and Mental Health Outcomes
• Satisfaction with Services
• Increased engagement in treatment
• Increased retention in treatment
• Decreased caregiver stress
• Increased satisfaction with services
• Decreased costly interventions for example, out of home placements
• Increased family and youth involvement
What does Research Say About Parent Support Partner Services?
Peer support research has shown 6 main areas of improvement when families were connected to peer-to-peer parent support. Including improvements in:
2. Initial Engagement
3. Ongoing Participation
4. Increased Empowerment
5. Increased Self-Efficacy
6. Perceived Social Support
What is Involved in the PSP Certification Process?
The Parent Support Partner certification model requires that Parent Support Partners participate in 5 full days of classroom training, 10 months of individual & group coaching, and Quarterly Professional Development and Technical Assistance meetings.
Classroom training topics include: Family Driven & Youth Guided Care, Cultural Competency, Child and Family Serving Systems, Confidentiality, Mandated Reporting, HIPAA, Boundaries, Roles and Function of Parent Support Partners, Benefits of the Service, SMART Goals, Parent-Professional Partnerships and System of Care and an overview of child and family service systems.
Monthly Group Coaching calls are facilitated by a member of the training and coaching team and offer an opportunity to teach, share, and demonstrate competencies through dialogue and consultation. Individual coaching is also available upon request from the PSP or recommendation from the Coach, PSP coordinator or CMH Supervisor. Individual coaching would be used to refine skills in specific skill area and provide targeted technical assistance related to particularly challenging need area.
Professional Development Meetings are held quarterly, and Parent Support Partners meet face to face or for on-going learning. These quarterly meetings provide an opportunity for networking with other PSP’s, technical assistance around barriers with implementation of the model with families and professionals.
Supervision of Parent Support Partners is provided by a CMH Qualified Mental Health Provider who:
• Has direct knowledge and contact with families receiving PSP services
• Provides clinical direction related to treatment goals
• Supports clinical staff to integrate PSP’s into treatment team, development of goals, etc.
What is Required of Community Mental Health Agencies That Offer the Service?
Expectations of Community Mental Health Service Provider who wish to employ Parent Support Partners, include that the CMH must:
• Employ or contract with a provider agency to employ parents/primary caregivers to become Parent Support Partners
• Identify a supervisor with the CMHSP and contract agency if applicable, to oversee the PSP’s
• Provide individual clinical supervision to the PSP
• Complete required paperwork and data collection/evaluation
• Training and on-going support and development for agency staff to integrate Parent Support Partners within the workforce
• Provide funds and resources necessary to implement PSP services including:
• Transportation and lodging for trainings and quarterly Professional Development meetings
• Personnel time for trainings, quarterly Professional Development meetings, coaching, and on-going evaluation
• Access to computer with internet access, phone, copy machine and fax, workspace
Key Expectations of the Program:
There is an expectation that the Parent Support Partner Service will be an intervention-based service and attached to a treatment goal.
There is also an expectation that PSP’s will be integrated into the treatment team and be an identified service within the Family Centered Plan to provide support, information, skill development, and resources to families to accomplish the treatment goals being targeted.
Parent Support Partners will work in partnership with the therapist and treatment team to assist families, bridge the relationship between parent and professional and support family & youth voice.
If You Need More Information:
For information about upcoming training dates for Parent Support Partners click here. To learn more about the Parent Support Partner Certification process or to learn how to bring the Parent Support Partner service to your area click here, and/or contact
Kristina Dristy, Program Manager, YPS & PSP, [email protected] or 517-643-3314 or,
Carla Pretto, Director, ACMH: [email protected] or call 517-599-6269.
Download a map of communities with PSP’s across Michigan: MAP- PSP Services in Michigan
Archived Previous FY PSP Annual Reports: