Family Interconnection Peer Program
Family Interconnection Peer Program (FIPP) -
PFAinc offers distinctive and mutual support to individuals susceptible and currently experiencing intersectionality* within the child protection system.
The Family Interconnection Peer Program provides a range of services and support to families, parents, and individuals who are involved with or at risk of involvement with the child protection system. Here are the key components of the program:
Peer-Parent Advocate (PPA): The program assigns a Peer-Parent Advocate to parents or caregivers who have firsthand experience with the child protection system.
A peer-parent advocate (PPA) is an individual who supports and assists parents or caregivers who are facing challenges or seeking guidance navigating the child protection system. These advocates, who are parents that have undergone the child protection system and reunification process, are crucial in providing necessary support, information, and resources to other parents in need. Their firsthand experience with parenting and navigating the system grants them a valuable peer-to-peer perspective. Furthermore, they are equipped to aid parents in accessing community services. These advocates frequently collaborate with organizations or community groups that prioritize family assistance and positive parenting practices.
Empower and strengthen families to make informed decisions regarding the nature of supports for themselves and their child(ren) through sharing information about resources, services and supports, and exploring what might be appropriate for their child and family;
Transportation: The program provides transportation services to parents/caregivers, ensuring they can access necessary resources, services, and appointments for themselves or their child(ren). This can include medical appointments, meetings, court hearings, therapy sessions, visitations related to their children, or other DCF-related essential activities.
Emotional and Mental Peer Support Advocates: Caregiving and navigating the child protection system can be emotionally and mentally demanding, and the program recognizes the importance of mental and emotional well-being for parents/caregivers. Mental and emotional support services, such as support groups, or peer support networks, are provided to help caregivers cope with stress, burnout, and other emotional and mental challenges they may face. Peer Support Advocates attend meetings*, court hearings, and appointments with parents, providing advocacy, guidance, and mentoring on parental rights.
*Meetings of any type - DCF meetings of any and all types (where permitted) including but not limited to Parent-Child Visitations, Foster Care Review meetings, Monthly Home Visits, Service Provider Meetings, 6-week Review Meetings, etc.
Caregivers involved in legal proceedings, such as care & protection, custody battles, guardianship hearings, or foster care placements, can benefit from the program's court support services. Court supporters are available to provide advocacy, guidance, accompany caregivers to court hearings, offer emotional and mental support, and help caregivers navigate the legal system through wrap-around services.
Resource Assistance: The program assists parents in accessing resources and services relevant to their situation. This could include connecting them with community organizations, service providers, and other support networks.
Munch-O-Meal: The program emphasizes providing healthy snacks and meals to parents for parent-child visitations. It also offers snack and meal planning guidance, focusing on nutritious food choices such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Cooking and baking classes may also be provided to enhance parents' culinary skills.
Parent-Child Visitations at Our Office: One of the standout features of our program is our commitment to facilitating secure and meaningful parent-child visitations at our office. These visitations are conducted under peer supervision, ensuring the safety and well-being of the children involved. We provide a welcoming space for these interactions, reinforcing our dedication to family reunification and stability.
Program Length of Time:
The duration of the program varies and is determined on a case-by-case basis
Aligned with the ongoing child welfare case.
The program is implemented in small phases, initially in Worcester County. The program will begin in specific areas such as Worcester, Auburn, West Boylston, Shrewsbury, Millbury, Holden, Paxton, Leicester, and Grafton.
The program is open to individuals, caregivers, and families regardless of their annual income or lack thereof