Parent Mentors Oversight and Professional Development Project

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recognizes the critical need of supporting and honoring families as the primary caregivers and educators of children. This critical role from birth into adulthood is challenging for families, and the challenges are often compounded for families of children with disabilities.

The state of Ohio developed a multi-tiered system of support, the Parent Mentors Oversight and Professional Development Project, nearly 30 years ago to offer a supportive peer relationship, an understanding of local school districts and organizational resources for families of students with disabilities, understanding of special education legislation, awareness of state resources and learning opportunities, and time for individualized interactions such as phone calls, and attending Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings.

Employed by districts, Parent Mentors collaborate to form strong partnerships between families and schools.  The primary structure for providing supports state-wide are the State Support Teams (SSTs) in 16 regions, and the Parent Mentors work alongside them to provide the families of students with disabilities consistent, strong support.

Center Associates, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Kenyona Walker, Senior Project Manager and licensed School Psychologist, will support the professional development of Parent Mentors from the region through coaching, targeted services and supports in collaboration with ODE. The regional structure will build upon the existing broad system of supports for families and develop new connections between dyad teams and regional organizations and agencies.

Stay up to date on resources and news by visiting Ohio’s Parent Mentor website, following the project on Twitter, and by contacting to be added to the mailing list. 

Funded by: Ohio Department of Education

Project Contact: Dr. Kenyona Walker

Current Award Total: $527,167

Caregivers of children with disabilities signing Individualized Education Program (IEP) paperwork.