Each family has a voice. Together, our voices will be heard.
Family Voices helps families navigate health care and community support and services by providing learning sessions, information and resources. As a family-run organization, we support families in their own leadership and advocacy journey. We promote family-centered care and family/professional partnerships through collaborative work with professionals and involvement with policy and systems change activities.
Early Choices Matter: Responses to Parents’ Questions
Early Choices Matter: What is Choice-Making?
Early Choices Matter: Ideas to Get Started Making Choices with Your Child
The focus of our work is supporting families who have children with disabilities and special health needs. To do this, we target three areas: educating and informing families so they can be effective advocates for their children; supporting family members as leaders in their community and engaging in policy and systems change.
We believe families need the right tools to be successful in navigating the complex systems that support their children. We approach our work, including our learning sessions, with this in mind. Each session provides a family perspective on the programs and services meant to help children live up to their fullest potential and guide families in planning their children’s best possible future.
We offer our learning sessions in English and Spanish, and offer in-person, virtual and on-demand modes to meet different learning needs. Our Did You Know? Now You Know! training introduces families to how systems of support and services work, while our What’s After High School? transition program focuses on the complex changes that come with transition to adulthood.
Our other topics include Medicaid Made Easy , Early Choices Matter, and Supported Decision Making sessions. Our newest learning materials, Children Building Choice-Making Skills goes further in the on-demand learning direction with an entire toolkit, including videos, fact sheets, tip sheets and other tools. We are always adding new information and updating our existing materials.
Family Vocies of Wisconsin believes in the importance of timely information. We write our fact sheets and quarterly newsletters to make sure that families get the most current news, events and updates. At the forefront of our efforts is the goal of using plain language that’s focused on translating the jargon and simplifying the complexity of supports into accessible ideas. We base our fact sheets on the questions and roadblocks families share with us. Every new fact sheet is also reviewed by families for readability, and by professionals and involved agencies.
Families are the best advocates for their children and communities. To this end, Family Voices of Wisconsin offers several skill-building opportunities each year. Advocacy for Change (AFC) brings families and caregivers to Madison to build leadership and advocacy skills and meet with their elected officials to share ideas about the issues that impact their children and communities.
Creating family leaders through our Wisconsin Family Leadership Institute (WiFLI), the goal is to help participants gain the skills and confidence to be at the table when decisions are made in familyvoiceswi.org Each family has a voice. Together, our voices will be heard. the community: serving on community advisory groups (like at the library, school, recreation programs, or medical clinic) to county or state boards or committees. Parents can also share their experiences with systems, to advocate to their legislators for real solutions.
Additionally, we have been an integral part of making sure that budgets and state-level policies are informed by families. For over a decade, Family Action Network email alerts keep families informed on all the issues that affect them at the state capital, and how they can take action to make a difference.
Our Listening Sessions provide a forum for families to share their experiences with state agency representatives and support service leaders. Family Voices creates a report using this valuable information to share with policy makers to improve systems of care.
Offering tools and opportunities for families to have an impact in their communities is important to our work. We have the materials families need in our Advocacy Toolkit. It’s packed with hints, tips and tools for anyone who wants to begin advocating for an issue.
Policy Issues that Guide Our Work
Family stories form the base of our work. Sometimes, well intended programs and services have different outcomes once they are in place in communities. Family experiences with support programs like Medicaid, Long-Term Care and other systems, uncover obstacles that weren’t apparent and drive our policy efforts. Our role is to elevate the voices of families and facilitate solution-focused partnerships for long lasting solutions.
WiFLI gave me friends who are advocates in similar situations. This let me know as a parent I am not alone.
Parent and WiFLI Participant
WiFLI has given me the resources and confidence needed in advocacy roles, which help those around me for the better.
Parent and WiFLI Participant
Advocacy for Change is a great way for people to get involved with decision making. And for me, it was important to hear what issues my constituents face and how to address them.
I've got 157,000 bosses but only a small group of them ever let me know how they feel.
Sen. Chris Larson
Wisconsin State Senate
I really appreciate all that you do to help educate and support families, youth and professionals!
Advocacy for Change Participant
WiFLI has helped me connect to larger issues and others that are supporting children and adults with IDD.
Parent and WiFLI Participant
THANK YOU to you and all of the staff for providing a great opportunity to advocate and show families how important our voices and stories are to affect positive change. I am truly grateful.
As a student nurse, it made a huge impact to hear from the families. We see things from the clinical side all the time and it’s so easy to forget that people’s lives keep on going outside of the hospital. This gave me a renewed appreciation for the unbelievable effort and the challenging situations that these families experience every single day. Thanks again for the opportunity to join!
School of Nursing Student
Information for families of children with special health care needs/disabilities and the professionals who support them.