You got this!
FAMILY RESOURCE NAVIGATORS
2018-19 Annual Report
The coach in your dugout for 25 years
Raising a child with a disability or delay is hard work. (We get it - we're parents, too.) We all need someone in our life to remind us that we are good enough - as parents and as advocates for our children. On the days that everything is falling apart, we all need someone to say: “You got this!”
Being a parent is always a hard job. But life is much more challenging when you are raising a child with a delay, disability or special health care need. Parents often feel isolated, alone and overwhelmed. FRN is here: to educate parents, to mentor them in advocating for children, and to build community. We are here to help parents build their confidence and skills so we can say, 'You got this!" And they do. Everyday, we help families of children of all ages with special health care needs, developmental delays and disabilities in Alameda County.
In this year's annual report, you'll learn more about the families we serve, what issues our community is facing and what we're doing about it. You'll hear about stories of resilience. You'll see profiles of the kinds of clients we work with. And we'll show you why unrestricted dollars will help us fill the gap for more families in our county.
The challenges are getting bigger
- Increasing Poverty & Homelessness. With homelessness up 43% in Alameda County, families are struggling with basic needs like a safe place to call home or enough food on the table.
- The "Public Charge" Rule. This new rule makes families fearful of using benefits like food stamps or MediCal. We're seeing people missing crucial medical appointments or withdrawing from much-needed educational and developmental services.
- Language & cultural differences. Most systems serving children with special needs are not equipped to handle the diversity in cultural backgrounds of the families in our county; services aren't being offered in enough languages.
- Disparities in funding. We're all parents so we'll never turn anyone away. For some clients, we have plenty of funding to provide intensive support. It's frustrating not to be able to give everyone the level of support they need when funding is too restrictive.
MEET THE PARENTS
HOW I LEARNED MY SON HAS AUTISM
My son Ethan was diagnosed with Autism when he was 3. There is not enough information of what Autism is in the Latino community. My family was always telling me that he was going to outgrow it. The childcare provider was telling me I was a bad parent and I felt judged. I didn't mention my concerns to the doctor because I thought it was normal. That is why it took so long to get a diagnosis . . .
INSPIRED BY HELPING OTHERS
When I noticed my infant son wasn’t developing as expected, I was worried and anxious. My son couldn’t tolerate sounds, in fact, he couldn’t drink from a bottle and it was hard for him to eat. His body was often very stiff. My son was not like other babies. I knew that something wasn’t right, and I was determined to get help . . .
HOW I FOUND MY VOICE
Being Tamina’s mother is a joy but what is hard and frustrating is that I have to fight with the systems to get what my child needs. It's sad to see that agencies give up on her before giving her the chance just because she has a physical disability. When I was pregnant, I was told she was going to have hydrocephalus and complications after birth . . .
Congratulations to the class of 2019!
15 NEW LEADERS & ADVOCATES
Each year, 10-30 family members spend two months becoming a Parent Leader at FRN, joining a cadre of dozens of trained leaders. We train people who see problems in their community that they want to fix. Parent leadership training includes:
- 21+ hours of advocacy training, mentorship and support
- Testimony by prior graduates now serving on councils, regional centers, alliances to showcase real life scenarios where families are improving services in the community
In 2018-19, we hosted 4 major events for 425 kids and their families:
100+ people participated in this year's Holi festival (the “Festival of Colors”), a jubilant occasion for South East Asian communities with rainbow-hued powder that commemorates the beginning of spring.
The Golden Village conference brought together 150+ families speaking Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese. Featured: "Getting In Home Health Services" Workshop; a Korean dance troupe, and The Dream Achievers band (whose performers have autism).
This year, we revamped our year-round playgroups to focus on adapted art and sensory play, launching a pilot in partnership with the San Leandro library – and now offering peer trainings for family members who can lead these groups for their community.
The Family Fun Event introduced 130+ Arabic, Farsi or Dari speakers to FRN, Regional Center and other services. Disability can be stigmatizing and isolating. This was a first for many to meet other families with similar challenges, forging connections and sharing stories.
Measurable impact in 2018-19:
As featured in:
"We know that we need to employ better and more culturally responsive strategies for supporting school success for young boys of color, and that many of these strategies will work for girls of color too."
2019 Promising Practices Portfolio
"Empowered families advocate on behalf of their children and communities; they take on leadership roles in schools and beyond."
2018 "Family Partnership Model"
What we're planning for this year
WHAT's NEW IN 2019-20?
When you're a parent, it doesn't matter how old your kid is, you want help. This year, we're going to do even more to make sure we don't leave kids out. It will take more unrestricted dollars to expand services for all kids - no matter their age, condition or developmental delay. This means families with kids with autism. Teenagers who just got diagnosed. Kids of color facing incredible difficulties navigating the system.
A FOCUS ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
We're raising funds to expand navigation services for families with children with developmental disabilities of all ages. Unrestricted funds will help teach more families how to navigate the system and connect more children to services.
WORKSHOP ON COMPLEX MEDICAL NEEDS
A new 6-part series about raising a child with a medical condition: how to deal with emotional issues, getting equipment and support, advocating for your child's needs, and self-care.
SPECIAL EDUCATION TRAINING FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR
Families of color have an even harder time navigating the system because of racial discrimination. That's why we're developing this tailored training to launch in Spring of 2020.
COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT PROJECT
FAMILY, COMMUNITY STRENGTHENING AND EDUCATION CONFERENCE
Registration coming soon! This conference will be hosted at the Impact Hub Oakland on February 22, 2020.
We're bringing together a community of families and providers in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties to identify disparities and break down barriers to equitable services for families who identify as African American who have children up to the age of 21 with developmental disabilities. Participants will get: a better understanding and trust of systems and services; increased knowledge base; tools they need to decrease disparities and increase accessibility to services for their children. Featuring:
- Workshops teaching families effective advocacy skills
- Information on the importance of Early Start support
- Strategies for getting appropriate school district services
- How to qualify and get equitable access for Regional Center, IHSS and SSI services
"HOW I BECAME A BOARD MEMBER"
FRN was the only organization in Northern California that understood the unique needs of new dads as being unexpectedly ushered into the world of parenting a child with a disability.
"THERE WASN'T A PLAYGROUP FOR MY KID UNTIL I STARTED ONE."
When my son was younger, I was visiting the library for a playgroup but we were asked to leave. My son was loud and it was sensory overload for him. It broke my heart that my child was not welcome in a public library - which is supposed to be open to all.
MEET OUR PEOPLE
Thanks to the staff, funders and dedicated volunteers who make this work happen.
With a long history of strong government contracts, this year we are focusing on expanding support from foundations, corporations and individuals. This will help fill gaps in our services and ensure we have the staffing to serve every child with a special health care need, developmental delay or disability in Alameda County - no matter their age or what their special need may be.
By increasing "unrestricted" funding by 10x through more individual donations and grants, we'll be able to add two new staff, and meet this year's goals.