Empowerment Strategies for Connecting Families with Community Resources Allison LaMont, MSW, LMSW MIECHV Technical Assistance Coordinator Parents as Teachers National Office
Resourcing goals: 1. Gain an understanding of empowerment techniques, sharpening resource & referral skills. 2. Reflect on your beliefs, strengths, and community connections and explore what motivates you to change. 3. Identify family strengths and leverage those strengths to encourage parents as they set and achieve goals.
Why is “resourcing” important? • Families who are connected to their community are more successful. • It takes a village – both formal & informal resources. • Both families & service providers are unique. • Accomplishing your program’s goals with families is incredibly difficult if the family’s basic needs are not being met. • Families that are able to develop effective problem solving & advocacy skills will have success in addressing their child’s needs • Despite what others may think, we are early childhood practitioners, not magicians.
Connecting families with resources Parents as Teachers essential requirement: Definition of Connect, from Merriam-Webster: (transitive verb) “To place or establish in relationship” • Home visitors connect families to resources that help them reach their goals and address their needs
Resourcing basics • Meeting resourcing requirements of your program • Recording resource connections • The difference between I & R: the effort / support that a professional provides to facilitate the connection • Universal access vs. Eligibility-based resources • Challenges
Concerns Why won’t they just do what I suggest? How many times do I have to say it?!!!
Reflection: Seek first to understand. . . Think about a time in your personal life when you faced a crisis, obstacle, or issue that “stumped” you
Think about a time in your personal life when you faced a crisis, an obstacle, or an issue that ”stumped” you: • Who did you go to for information & support? • How did you feel facing that issue? • How did you make decisions about what to do next? • What suggestions or recommendations did people make to you? • Were those suggestions helpful or not helpful? Why? • Did you access any community or support resources? What was that experience like? • What would you say to someone facing the same situation now if they came to you seeking support?
The “e-word:” empowerment • “The relationship established between worker and client is key to the success of any intervention. Empowerment-based practice requires one to redefine the helping process as one of ‘shared power’ and ‘power with’ and as ‘participant driven’ with the professional becoming a ‘facilitator’ or resource rather than a director. Roles and responsibilities become mutual and shared. In this practice, clients and workers act as partners. Rather than owners of problems, clients are seen as resources.” Gutierrez, L.M., 2008
Empowerment What it is: What it isn’t: Handing him a phone number or flyer Making the call for her Making decisions for him Telling her what to do • Meeting the parent & family “where they are” • Supporting skill development • Partnering, Facilitating, Reflecting
Resource Connection Process • Identify the concern: Partner with the family to explore needs, concerns, desires related to family goals. Consider “the fit” – motivational congruence • Consider available resources: First, informal / social, then formal. Family strengths are an enormous resource! • Make a plan: Facilitate the connection, gain perspective, consider potential barriers • Take action(or don’t take action): parent & PE roles • Reflect on process & outcome: Highlight strengths, encourage honesty about barriers/motivation/priorities
Connecting families with resources visual Parent & Parent Educator
Questions? • Contact us: www.parentsasteachers.org Allison LaMont, LMSW Program Support & Technical Assistance Coordinator (314) 432-4330 ext. 267 Allison.LaMont@parentsasteachers.org