Allegheny Family Network is excited to be a participant in a national research project with a clinical research team and other Family Run Organizations to examine the effectiveness of two different approaches to helping parents and caregivers get the help they need for their children – through peer support for parents and through providing resources to parents.


The PACS (Parent and Caregiver Support) research study welcomes parents and caregivers who have a child between ages 5 and 12 years old who have exhibited behavioral or emotional issues and currently are not receiving services to participate in the study. The parents will receive supportive services or referral services to assist them in navigating the best services for their child while maintaining their family voice and choice.


The research study currently is accepting families with children in the following school districts: Highlands School District, Woodland Hills School District, Penn Hills School District, and Clairton City School District.

Even though schools are currently experiencing physical closure and a move to online learning or take-home packets, the study still will be accepting new participants! We know that children may be experiencing a loss of structure, schedule, and consistency, and this could result in an increase in behavioral or emotional issues. Parents who are participating in the research project will receive supportive services during school closures.

It is common for elementary school students to exhibit emotional or behavioral problems in school, home, and community settings that can cause concerns. These problems can interfere with a child’s developmental path, school success, and family and social functioning.  Prior research has demonstrated that the kind of help Family Run Organizations – such as Allegheny Family Network - has given to parents when their child is experiencing difficulties can help with finding accurate information, the right services, and needed supports.

In addition to support from AFN, parents who agree to participate in the research also receive monetary compensation for their time completing surveys about their experiences. 

We need your first-hand experience, so we can help support other families and children who may be struggling. This is a paid opportunity! Parents can call the ChatLine to sign up at 1-888-273-2361. School staff at these districts can also help families connect to the research project by calling the ChatLine and sharing contact information for parents, with their permission.


The national study is being conducted by researchers Bruno Anthony, Ph. D., and research assistants Tennyson Dahlman and Jessica Holmes from the University of Colorado and Eric Bruns, Ph.D. from the University of Washington. Family Run Organizations participating include Allegheny Family Network in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with assistance from Betsy Farmer, Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh and Postdoctoral Fellow Daniel Hyung Jik Lee; and the Oregon Family Support Network in Oregon. It is based on the practice model of the Parent Peer Navigator curriculum, a Pennsylvania statewide curriculum, through the Family Run Executive Directors Leadership Association.

Allegheny Family Network



CHATLine offers a well trained and experienced Family Support Partner with personal experience raising a child with behavioral issues who can help with connections to community services, negotiating different systems, or emotional support.  The families can also call to request a face to face one on one Family Support Partner through the CHATLine.


* CHATLine hours of operation are 9:00 am—4:30 pm Monday through Friday.  Calls received after hours will have the option of leaving a message and will receive a call back on the next business day. 

* This CHATLine is not a crisis line.  The CHATLine is a support line and referral service.  In the event of a crisis—AFN staff will refer callers to emergency support services such as 911 or Resolve Crisis Network. 

425 North Craig Street, Suite 500   |   Pittsburgh, PA 15213   |   Phone: 412-246-2030

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Parent. Family, Advocacy, Mental Health, Children