Working Together for Families Collaboration
Work together on activities to accomplish mutual goals
- The family is the center of the team
- Parents should be empowered to advocate for their children at state and local levels
[The MI parent center and state deaf-blind project] both believe supporting parents is the most important service we can provide. We also have a "we are better together" working agreement. —Michigan
Collaboration has enabled both [the parent center and the state deaf-blind project] to reach a wider range of local families and, therefore, engage more families in training and recreational opportunities. It has also increased the ability of families to network with each other. —Maryland
Involve other stakeholders
Work together on state systems change activities
Example: In North Dakota the state deaf-blind project, the parent center, and the PEPNET 2 Transition Team have worked together on numerous projects focusing on transitioning youth. These include participation in a transition community of practice, the development of a transition guide, and work on "Teen Night Out" activities in the Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN area. A representative from the parent center spoke at the 2014 Transition Summit, a collaborative effort among the state deaf-blind project, the School for the Deaf, and the PEPNET 2 Team.
Develop a formal working agreement
Before we had the written MOU, we had challenges related to lack of clarity about the expectations of each other. We handled it by developing the MOU! —New Jersey
Develop strong professional and personal relationships
We have a strong collaboration that is considered a friendship based on years of working together. We all know who to call or email. Our collaboration is successful because of a long-term relationship built on trust . . . Everyone is on first name basis. —Nebraska
Serve on each other’s boards or other committees
The Ohio parent center is on the state deaf-blind project’s advisory board and on its Technical Assistance Design and Deployment (TADD) Team. This provides additional opportunities for planning and implementation of activities that meet the needs of parents and families in Ohio.
We have the desire to serve on each other's committees because it increases awareness of both agencies’ programs and activities. This provides better outcomes for families. —Utah
Develop materials together
Collaborate on family training events
We collaborate on quarterly parent online trainings during the school year based on topics of interest to families (solicited via a survey). The deaf-blind project helps host the sessions, and assists with recruiting speakers. The number one topic requested by parents has been behavioral challenges, a topic in which state deaf-blind projects have expertise. —South Dakota
Example: The Florida and Virgin Islands deaf-blind project and the Florida parent center work together to host several family forum sessions (a Mom’s Group, a Dad’s Group, and a Spanish Family Group) at an annual statewide parent conference.
Work together on data collection
Share financial resources
Share and/or connect parent leaders
- In Michigan, the parent center and the state deaf-blind project are working to link the parent center’s Parent Mentors with the deaf-blind project’s Family Leaders in their local communities.
- In Arkansas, a parent of a child who is deaf-blind became employed as a parent educator for the parent center. This has assisted the state deaf-blind project in raising awareness of deaf-blindness and enhancing positive relationships with the parent center.
- Through collaboration with their parent center, the North Carolina state deaf-blind project added a family specialist.
Evaluate collaboration outcomes
Parent/family surveys and interviews are a part of our program evaluation. We conduct such surveys and interviews during and at the conclusion of many of our activities and training opportunities, and also during non-activity-related times (at least once a grant cycle, we gather feedback from families). —Maryland