For Parents of Children and Youth – Virginia Family Network
The Virginia Family Network (VFN) is a contractual agreement between the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) and NAMI Virginia for parents who have children and youth with mental health needs, and as a result, you will find all of our programs for parents on this page. VFN was launched in 2011 with the intention of providing opportunities that support, educate, and empower other families with children and youth with mental health needs, while also promoting family driven and youth guided policy throughout the child serving systems. The initiative is designed to “meet the family where they are” through activities such as providing support groups, training, resources, and mentorship from other families with children and youth with mental health needs. We are committed to ensuring that no matter where a family lives, they have access to the support and information that they need so that no family ever feels alone. VFN is Virginia’s Statewide Family Network and voice for families.
The Virginia Family Network is led by a statewide advisory board made up of parents who have children and youth with mental health needs. They provide guidance and input on all of our programs for parents, as well as policies and issues relevant to families who have children and youth with mental health needs.
Programs for Parents
NAMI Basics is a free 6 week course for parents and other caregivers of children and youth with a mental health condition. The course is taught by trained parents. It is designed to provide the fundamentals of caring for you, your family and your child with mental health needs. All instruction and course materials are free for class participants.
Children’s Challenging Behaviors is a 6-hour workshop for parents of children and youth with mental health needs. In this workshop, a trained and experienced parent provides information to help parents understand typical behaviors versus challenging behaviors that require intervention. Parents learn when and how to seek help, develop parenting strategies, learn the ins and outs of special education and other educational supports, and discover community resources available to families and youth.
We offer NAMI Family Support Groups that are specifically for parents who have children and youth with mental health needs. They are 90-minute weekly support groups run by parents with children and youth who have mental health needs, for other parents and caregivers with children and youth with mental health needs. These groups provide a place that offers respect, understanding, encouragement, and hope.
The Advanced Parent Leadership Training is an intensive one day training focused on skills and competences relevant to being parent leaders in their communities. This training is great for parents who are parent support partners, parent advocates, NAMI program volunteers, or parents in other leadership roles and want the formal training to continue to develop and support their roles as leaders. It’s also great for parents who are ready to get involved and are looking for ways to do so.
Other Trainings for Parents
We offer a number of other trainings for parents that are provided as requested. If you are interested in one of the trainings below, please contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Crisis Planning for Families – A workshop that provides tips and strategies for families in order to prepare for a mental health crisis so that they know what to do if the time comes.
- Driving the Care for Your Family – A one day training that provides tools and information that prepares parents to be effective advocates for their families.
- Navigating the System – A workshop that provides an overview of available children’s mental health services and resources and tips and strategies for systems navigation and advocacy.
Resources for Parents
We offer a number of resources for parents. Check out the Youth and Young Adult Resource Center for more information.
We also offer a monthly e-newsletter that provides information, resources, and events relevant to youth and families and anyone that cares about children’s mental health. Click here to sign up.
We also host the Family and Youth Leadership Summit, which is a great opportunity to connect with other parents and learn valuable information and resources relevant to you and your family. Click here for more information.