Parent Centers serve families of children of all ages (birth to 26) and with all disabilities (physical, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional). Services they may offer include: one-to-one support and assistance, workshops, publications, and websites. The majority of Parent Center staff members and board members are parents of children with disabilities so they are able to bring personal experience, expertise, and empathy when working with families.
Specifically, Parent Centers help families to:
- Better understand their children’s disabilities and educational, developmental, and transitional needs
- Communicate more effectively with special education, early intervention, and related professionals
- Understand their rights and responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal special education law
- Obtain appropriate services for their children through participation in the individualized education program (IEP) and individualized family service plan (IFSP) decision making process
- Resolve disagreements and understand the benefits of alternative methods of dispute resolution
- Connect with other local, state, and national resources that assist children with disabilities
Parent Centers are comprised of our Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) and Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs). They are funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Pennsylvania is fortunate to have several other parent resource organizations available throughout the state. A brief description of each of the centers is provided below. You are encouraged to visit each of the parent center’s websites to learn more about the services and supports they offer.
Parent Education and Advocacy Leadership (PEAL)
The Parent Education and Advocacy Leadership (PEAL) Center was established in October 2005 as an organization of parents of children with disabilities reaching out to assist other parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs, and professionals. The PEAL Center offers a variety of supports and resources from Assistive Technology to healthcare information for families and professionals. They have a number of ongoing trainings and events, print publications, and even a lending library.
Hispanics United For Exceptional Children (HUNE)
HUNE es una organización sin fines de lucro establecido en el 1998. HUNE provee asesoramiento, asistencia técnica y asistencia individual gratis para los padres de infantes, niños, y jóvenes con impedimentos y a los profesionales que trabajan con los niños. Todos nuestros servicios son bilingües (Ingles y Español). Esta asistencia le ayuda a los padres participar más efectivamente con los profesionales para alcanzar las necesidades educacionales de los niños y jóvenes con impedimentos. HUNE trabaja para mejorar los resultados educacionales para los niños y jóvenes con impedimentos (emocional, aprendizaje, mental y físico) desde 0-26 años de edad.
HUNE is a not for profit organization established in 1998. They provide free bilingual English and Spanish training, technical assistance and individual assistance to parents of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and to professionals who work with children. This assistance helps parents to participate more effectively with professionals in meeting the educational needs of children and youth with disabilities. HUNE works to improve educational outcomes for children and youth with all disabilities (emotional, learning, mental, and physical) from 0-26 years of age.
Mission Empower has been helping families in Erie County who have children with disabilities get the supports and services they need to be successful at school and in life since 2007. Mission Empower provides advocacy services, parent training and community education services. Advocates work with parents to solve problems, design creative solutions and collaborate effectively with their child’s school.
Parent to Parent of Pennsylvania
For over 36 years, Parent to Parent programs across the country have been providing emotional and informational support to families of children who have special needs, most notably by matching parents seeking support with an experienced, trained “support parent.”