IN LEND Collaborates on Project to Develop Training for Family Leaders

May 17, 2017

The Riley Child Development Center is excited to share this free training that was guided by MCH leadership competencies. Indiana families now have access to a new web-based training which will help them build knowledge and skills in the area of family leadership! Building Family Leaders will give families access to the tools they need to be empowered to lead, advocate and engage as partners in the systems that serve their children. The idea for the Building Family Leaders modules was born during a statewide meeting of the Family Leadership Council.

The council was led by staff from the Riley Child Development Center and Family Voices Indiana in collaboration with the Indiana State Department of Health's Title V Maternal and Child Health & Children's Special Health Needs Services. The Family Leadership Council is made up of more than 20 organizations whose missions include, at least in part, serving children with special health care needs. Families raising children with disabilities and special health care needs encounter a myriad maze of systems of services as they seek care and support for their children and teens. Families at all stages of raising their children often comment that they are overwhelmed by the complexities of the systems and services they encounter. Their experience navigating these systems puts them in a great position to provide feedback from the perspective of the end user, but there is often a gap between their experience and their knowledge of how to make an impact on the systems and services they access.

While it was determined that information and training is available in other forms to address the specifics of many of the systems families' access, the knowledge and skills needed to interact with systems leaders was often missing. Helping busy families develop these leadership skills requires meeting them where they are, making an online web option a perfect solution. Families can access the training on their own time schedule and work at their own pace. The modules provide training in the basic skills while also helping families assess their own strengths and weaknesses. Families can work through the available training modules, with flexibility to do them all in order, or to skip around to those they feel might be most relevant. As the modules were being developed, it was recognized that family leadership is critical across all systems serving children, not just in those systems serving children with special needs. As a result, the information was designed to apply to diverse groups of families, including those with and without special needs. Building Family Leaders is online now at

  • Module 1 "Defining Parent Leadership"
  • Module 2 "Critical Elements of Collaboration"
  • Module 3 Coming Soon!
  • Module 4 Coming Soon!

There is no cost to families to register or use the system. A tip sheet for using the site is attached. The partner organizations in the Family Leadership Council are excited to provide this opportunity to families as they work expand their leadership skills. Families who use Building Family Leaders will strengthen systems and services throughout Indiana, positively impacting family quality of life and helping create more effective and efficient service systems for children and families. For any issues with the training site, please email [email protected] and/or call 1-800-299-1627, option 5. The partner organizations contributing to Building Family Leaders include: Family Voices Indiana About Special Kids (ASK) Arc of Indiana Autism Society of Indiana Families Reaching for Rainbows Families United for Support and Encouragement (FUSE) Governor's Planning Council for People with Disabilities Hands and Voices Hear Indiana Down Syndrome Indiana Indiana Institute on Disability and Community IN*SOURCE Riley Child Development Center United Cerebral Palsy Westside Special Needs Network of Speedway United Methodist Church Individual Advocates.