The focus of our work is on supporting families. To do this we target three areas: educating families so they can be effective advocates for their children; offering timely and easy-to-understand information; and, engaging in policy and systems change.
“The support that Family Voices provides to families and community partners is full of passion and excellence. The FV team is valued and always trusted!”
We believe that, like professionals, families need the right tools to be successful in navigating the complex systems that support their children. We approach our work, like our training 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 trainings in a wide variety of formats, in English and Spanish, to meet each family’s different learning needs. Families can attend our face-to-face trainings at the local level, take part in a scheduled virtual training, or visit familyvoiceswi.org to watch our online trainings whenever they have a little free time.
Our Did You Know? Now You Know! training introduces families to how systems of support and services works, while our What’s After High School? transition training focuses on the complex changes that come with transition to adulthood.
Our other trainings focus on specific topics like Medicaid Made Easy, our Supported Decision Making sessions, and our care coordination training, Coordinating your Child’s Health Care, which has been recognized by the National Center on Medical Home Implementation as a Promising Practice.
While all our 2020 trainings are virtual due to the pandemic, we remain committed to our in-person sessions. We find this format provides the richest experience for families. We are always adding new information and updating our existing materials. Visit our website to see new learning opportunities!
“Family Voices does an astronomical job in helping families understand supports, services and the importance of clear, concise communication!”
We believe in the importance of timely information. We write our fact sheets and quarterly newsletters to make sure that families get the most up-to-date information, in language that’s focused on translating the jargon and simplifying the complexity of supports and services, into accessible ideas. We base our fact sheets on the questions and roadblocks families share with us. Our newsletters and fact sheets are available in Spanish and are viewed hundreds of times a year.
“Family Voices has been a powerful engine for the Parent Movement in Wisconsin for as long as I can remember.”
Family Advocacy and Leadership
We believe that families need the skills to be effective advocates for their children and communities. To this end, we offer several skill-building opportunities each year. Advocacy for Change (AFC) brings families and caregivers to Madison to build their leadership and advocacy skills, and then meet with their elected officials to share their ideas about the issues that would help their children. Our tenth AFC will be held as a virtual event on March 30, 2021.
In 2016, we offered a new family leadership training in collaboration with the Waisman Center, the Wisconsin Family Leadership Institute (WiFLI). WiFLI is an in-depth, leadership training for families based on servant leadership. Our goal is to get funding to offer this life-changing training annually.
Additionally, FVofWI has been an integral part of making sure that budgets and state-level policies are informed by families. For over a decade, we have hosted the Family Action Network (FAN) listserv, that connects families to opportunities to provide input on policies and systems change.
Public Policy and Systems Change
We believe that supports and services are most effective when families are involved in their design, use and evaluation. From our, “No Place Like Home” campaign in 2003, to our annual listening sessions at the Circles of Life Conference, FVofWI strives to support families in impacting legislation and state budgets.
Additionally, we inform policymakers on how families are affected by their decisions. Through AFC, our FAN listserv, newsletters and website, families stay informed about opportunities to offer their point of view when critical policy changes and budgets are being considered.