5-Minute MCH: Module 8.0

5-Minute MCH: Module 8.0

Family-Professional Partnerships

Module 8.0: Overview

Family-professional partnerships at all levels of the system of care ensure the health and well-being of children, including those with special health care needs, and their families through respectful family-professional collaboration and shared decision making. Partnerships with family-run organizations and with families and individuals from the target population honor the strengths, culture, traditions, and expertise that everyone brings to the relationship when engaged in program planning, program implementation, and policy activities in leadership roles in a developmentally respectful manner. Partnerships with these organizations can also help MCH leaders connect with families and youth from diverse backgrounds to ensure the perspectives of the communities who receive services are represented.

This is a partnership beyond providing care. Family and personal expertise is a body of knowledge that constitutes a discipline. Family and self-advocate faculty, staff, and consultants provide interdisciplinary teams with an invaluable perspective: that of the recipient of care and services. The family and self-advocate as leader and teacher is invaluable to training programs, hospitals, and other public health programs.

From a health and wellness perspective, the key to effective family-professional partnerships entails:

  • Shared decision making, always involving individuals and the family in planning and implementing activities.
  • Addressing family priorities.
  • Connecting the family to needed services.
  • Tailoring recommendations to social, educational, and cultural issues affecting the family.
  • Recognizing the impact of a child with special health care needs on families at a systems level.
  • Acknowledging the potential of the family as a source of strength and support in child, adolescent, youth, and young adult care.

Historically in the field of MCH, the concept of family-centered care was developed within the community of parents, advocates, and health professionals concerned for CYSHCN, with the goal that all care is received in family-centered, comprehensive, coordinated systems. Further, individuals who have personal experiences with the system of care, such as those with developmental and physical disabilities; behavioral and mental health issues; and/or chronic illness provide insight and a perspective critical to the successful development of effective policies and practices.

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This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $180,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.