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Family Support Program launches new effort to support families with children who have disabilities

Families with children who have special needs living in the Triangle area of North Carolina have a vital new resource. The Family Support Program at the Jordan Institute for Families has partnered with the Family Resource Center of South Atlantic (FRCSA) to launch the Family Support Network™ of the Greater Triangle (FSN-GT), serving Chatham, Durham, Orange, Person, and Wake counties. The affiliate is funded with a three-year grant from the federal Health Resources & Services Administration Family-to-Family Health Information Centers Program.

“We are so pleased to collaborate with the Family Resource Center South Atlantic to sponsor this FSN Affiliate, as they are so well established in the Triangle area and have a superb record of working with families,” said Tamara Norris, clinical associate professor and director of the Family Support Program. Norris praised the commitment of a group of UNC faculty, family members, and providers who have met for two years to develop an FSN program for the Triangle. The program officially launched with an open house on Dec. 14 at the Raleigh office of FRCSA.

This new Family Support Network™ of North Carolina affiliate joins 11 FSN local programs across the state that build capacity in their communities to support families with children who have special needs. To foster innovation and best practice in family support services, FSN-GT will be a demonstration site for evidence-based approaches and research related to improving outcomes for families with children who have disabilities. The first research project underway is a study to determine the needs of working parents during key life transitions for their child with special needs. Principal investigator Susan Girdler of the UNC School of Medicine and Norris are partnering on the two-year study, along with faculty from five other departments on campus. The project is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

FSN of the Greater Triangle also offers the statewide Access Family Support Health Information Center to provide support, information, resources, and training to families of children and youth with special health care needs and the professionals who serve them. For more information, call their toll-free number 1-800-852-0042.