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  • Writer's pictureMisty Woody

Statewide System for Mental Health

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Allegheny Family Network (AFN) is transforming mental health systems across Pennsylvania with the implementation of PA-Parent and Family Alliance, a statewide network aimed at fostering and improving relations between service providers, legislators, and family members.

With the support of the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) and a Statewide Family Network grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), PA – PAFA launched in September 2018, touching the lives of thousands of families across the Commonwealth.

The PA-Parent and Family Alliance will expand and enhance family voice in the children’s behavioral health and related systems by creating a statewide alliance among family organizations. PA – PAFA will connect families, family organizations, service providers, and stakeholders to increase knowledge of families’ needs and improve skills and policies that will support families and improve the lives of children and youth.

The Alliance will enhance the skills of existing family organizations by offering professional development training and technical assistance. This alliance will support families with training and networking opportunities to empower them to be effective change agents for the health systems of which they have had direct involvement. PA – PAFA will support state and county stakeholders with Parent Peer Specialists who can plan and develop policies and connect agencies statewide for idea-sharing, goal-setting, and education at annual events.

The Alliance engages ways for families and agencies across the state to really learn about ‘family voice.’ The goal is to create a standard in the mental health and behavioral health systems so that parents, agencies, and legislators are able to better define the current issues and needs for our families to better utilize resources and make a bigger more equitable impact. We know parents have specific needs of support – by working with the state and agencies, we can support organizations in goals to decrease stress, empower parents, and better utilize funding and resources. PA – PAFA is supported by the SAMHSA grant, awarded $95,000 for three years, and funding from the OMHSAS office, providing 10 organizations with technical assistance; communicate to 4,000 families with information and referrals; train 400 families, providers and system partners, and credential 100 Parent Peer Specialists. AFN is extremely excited about the opportunity that this grant brings for PA. In these three years as PA – PAFA forms the alliance to give positive feedback on how services can effectively serve families in PA, we hope to show how Family Voice and support services can effectively serve families throughout Pennsylvania. Please know that Allegheny Family Network will remain committed to the same supports for Allegheny County residents we currently have and our commitment has not changed!

Please visit the PA Parent and Family Alliance's website:

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