Parent Mentors Program

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 Program, 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, an 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 with consistent, strong support.

Center Associates, led by Dr. Gabrielle Johnson, Translational Researcher 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.

Funded by: Ohio Department of Education

Project Contact: Dr. Gabrille Johnson

Current Award Total: $527,167