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Family Support Network of North Carolina
School of Social Work
The University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3550
The Family Support Network of North Carolina is a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, is dedicated to providing information, assistance, support, and resources to families of children with special needs and professionals who serve these families. The Family Support Network's mission is threefold: to provide current information about disabilities, services, and agencies that serve affected families and professionals; to coordinate a network of community-based parent-to-parent programs to offer support and assistance to other parents, professionals, and agencies; and to encourage parent-professional collaboration between physicians and other health care professionals and affected families. The Family Support Network works to fulfill its mission by offering several services including its Central Directory of Resources (CDR). The CDR serves as a computerized resource center for parents, families, and professionals that provides information about specific health conditions or disabilities; agencies, services, and other resources; and parent support programs throughout North Carolina and the United States. The Directory also provides information on human resources to help connect people who have experience in preservice, inservice, or continuing education with those who need assistance in planning or implementing educational activities, thus encouraging better collaboration between families, universities, community colleges, and agencies. The Family Support Network also has a mentoring program for early intervention providers, child care providers, and specialized therapy providers (e.g., physical therapists, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists) that provides individualized support to help develop or increase skills in working with young children and their families. In addition, the Network also has a network of parent-to-parent programs across North Carolina that provides services on a local level. The purpose of the programs is to link families who have children with special needs with other families who have faced similar challenges and can offer mutual support and understanding. Support is provided through one-on-one parent matching of trained support parents; networking with professionals in the community; and arranging support, educational, and social activities.