LINCOLN — It’s easy to become overwhelmed while raising a child with mental health and/or substance use disorders — but a series of training events aim to help parents gain skills and knowledge to be a voice at all levels on decision-making teams, as well as advocate for their own families.

Developed by families for families, Parent Leadership Training is an opportunity to come together to empower families with the tools, trainings, skills and supports to advocate for their own families, as well as be a representative of the family voice to promote system change. This can be in a direct way, such as families and youth actively participating in meetings, either in person or by phone, or an indirect way, such as families and youth who may not be able to attend meetings participate as the family and youth voice by reviewing and giving input on documents (policies, data, procedures, etc.) The training initiative is offered as a partnership within the system of care framework. The training is offered to families free of charge.

A Parent Leader is a parent who uses their personal experiences of raising a child with mental health and/or substance use disorders and are or have been involved in other systems such as Children and Family Services and/or juvenile justice to then represent the family voice within programs, agencies, and communities to make positive changes and to help shape the direction of policies, procedures, and services for all families.

There are two levels of the Parent Leadership training:

Level 1 is a two-day training with a lot of hands-on activities and interactions which focuses on where each person feels they are in their journey to be a parent leader. This training covers getting to know one’s self, grieving processes and stages of change, communication, protective factors, problem solving/decision making, and cultural and family diversity.

The training will be held in Scottsbluff on Saturday, Aug. 24, and Sunday, Aug. 25, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Sharon Dalrymple at or 402-450-4339.

Similar trainigns will be held in Kearney and Omaha.

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