Family Voices of Wisconsin

Each family has a voice. Together, our voices will be heard.

Family Voices of Wisconsin is a state affiliate of national Family Voices and the home of Wisconsin’s Family-to-Family Health Information Center.

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About Us

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.

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Videos

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

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.
focus

Educating Families

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.

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Timely Information

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.

Family Advocacy and Leadership

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

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.

Advocacy
Toolkit

Resource
Library

Recursos en
español

What We Hear

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Supporter Recognition

Many thanks to all the people and organizations who help fund and support Family Voices of Wisconsin in 2023.

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Information for families of children with special health care needs/disabilities and the professionals who support them.

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