The purpose of the Family-2-Family Health Information Center of Arkansas is to provide family-run and peer-designed education, training and resources to directly meet the information, resource and advocacy needs of families of children with special health care needs, and the professionals who serve them, in Arkansas. The goals of the Center are to improve health care access, utilization of resources, and partnerships across the health care system between families of CYSHCN and service providers. An evaluation plan of Center services provided and health care utilization and outcomes enable a unique opportunity to demonstrate the value and benefits of the services provided to local stakeholders, the state Title V CSHCN office, and the MCHB.
Activities/Methodology:During the next year we will continue the existing activities of the F2F, specifically one-on-one consultation for families in need, resource development, and outreach to providers through educational training. In addition, we plan to further develop the activities of the F2F to grow the program into a more visible, statewide program. We propose a set of activities that builds on the successes that the F2F has achieved and addressed existing weaknesses. The successes include the statewide presence through Regional Coordinators, the trainings that have been developed for families and providers alike, and a burgeoning network of collaborations. Existing weaknesses include areas of visibility, identifying and coordinating resource directories, and addressing issues related to cultural competency and health care disparities. Accordingly, we will expand trainings, target collaborative relationships, and devote resources to cultural competency and resource directories.
In this project designed to help Hispanic families of CSHCN in the Little Rock School District (LRSD), the AR F2F provided cultural competency training, resource information, and referral services around health to extend the family supports that two of the LRSD elementary schools could offer. In the eight months this project has been active we have provided direct assistance to 67 families. As a result of our work: the school district has a better understanding of the Hispanic community in central Arkansas; the relationship between the schools and Hispanic families has improved; and Hispanic families are now more aware of available health resources and in a better position to act as self-advocates. We will now use this experience to inform a pilot project to develop a statewide minority outreach plan.