About Us

Our Mission

"To support and partner with families rearing children who have emotional and mental health needs in order to improve their quality of life."

Allegheny Family Network’s philosophy is to support the Voice and Choice of families in a strength-based model of change. By working with families to discover and embrace their own strengths, AFN celebrates and cultivates the strengths of the family both as individuals and as a unit.

Who We Are

All members of AFN staff are family members—parents or primary caregivers who are raising or have raised a child with mental health or emotional needs. As parents, AFN staff members (Family Support Partners) understand what other families are going through. They offer empathy and compassion as they help families advocate for their children and bring about change in the broader human services systems.

AFN Family Support Partners bring a wealth of knowledge to the families who are engaged in AFN programs and activities. AFN staff draw on their own experiences with human service systems such as: Education, Children, Youth and Families (CYF), Behavioral Health (mental health, drugs and alcohol) and the Juvenile Justice system in order to support families who negotiate with these systems.

Who We Support

AFN supports parents who are raising children from 0 to 21 years of age with information and resources regarding the following systems in Allegheny County:

  • Mental Health
  • Educational
  • Early Intervention
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Children, Youth and Families (CYF)

AFN Family Support Partners support parents as their peers—not as their clinical providers.

What We Offer to Families

AFN Chat Line: Parents/Caregivers can call this support line to talk to another parent who has a child with a mental health or emotional need, to learn about information and resources, or to be referred to one-on-one support.

Programs: Currently, AFN partners with Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Community Care Behavioral Health and the following agencies to support families in different programs in Allegheny County:

Family Support Groups: These groups are available throughout Allegheny County for parents to share their family experiences with others who are having similar situations. Meetings include: sharing sessions, speakers who discuss topics chosen by parents, and celebrations, all guided by the needs of parents who are in attendance.

Individual Education Plan (IEP):  AFN supports families in preparing for or attending an IEP meeting for their child. Family Support Partners can educate parents on their child’s rights to receive an adequate education and provide resources on the IEP process.

Special Events: For families who are enrolled in AFN programs, we offer recreational, educational, and social events for the parents as well as the entire family.  Families who are involved with AFN may be eligible to attend conferences that address children’s mental health and emotional concerns.

Training: Through the AFN Agents of Transformation training program, parents can become Lead Parents. Parents in this program learn to increase their advocacy abilities and be more effective when sitting on policy-making committees at local, state, and federal levels. Participating parents also learn to better support families in their local community or county.

Parent Advisory Board: Parents can sit on AFN’s Parent Advisory Board to ensure that the organization remains family-friendly in every way and serves as the voice of the families it supports. These parents advise the Executive Director with their recommendations.