Examples of Family Advocate Work

Colorado – Colorado Integrated System of Care Family Advocacy Demonstration Program:

In 2007, the Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 07-1057, establishing the creation of family advocacy demonstration programs in three diverse sites for youth with mental health or co-occurring disorders who are in or at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system (see C.R.S. 26-22-101 to 106). A final evaluation of the Colorado Integrated System of Care Family Advocacy Demonstration Program suggests that partnering with a family advocate can decrease the arrest rates of the youth involved in juvenile justice services. The report can be downloaded below.

PDF RESOURCE: Family Advocacy Demonstration Project Final Report

Colorado – Minority Family Advocacy Program:

The goal of the MFAP is to reduce the number of minority youth committed to the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC). This is accomplished through community-based family advocacy that is provided to minority youth and their families who have become involved in the juvenile justice system. Referrals are received from other community agencies for youth that are involved with or at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system. A description of the program can be found at the following link.


In Arizona, Juvenile Probation departments may authorize a youth/family to receive family advocacy services, which is paid for out of the State “Juvenile Probation Treatment Fund”.   While there is no certification required for who may provide family advocacy services, a contracting process is used to select vendors to provide services to youth on probation. The Arizona Supreme Court serves as the contracting agency in Arizona for these services. An example of the contract detailing the service description, program components and service duties is included in the following PDF document

PDF RESOURCE: Services Specifications, Family Advocacy Service


A recommendation of the Minnesota Juvenile Justice & Mental Health Initiative is to provide System Navigators a way to engage parents as partners. The role of the System Navigator is to provide parents with information concerning the screening process; provide parents and youth with the results of the screening and information on accessing a diagnostic assessment when their child meets the threshold; assist parents to link their child to services; assist parents to navigate county and community-based agencies; and track outcomes to ensure youth are being screened and receiving appropriate follow-up services. A copy of the report is included below.

PDF RESOURCE: Minnesota Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Initiative


The Models for Change-Pennsylvania Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Family Involvement Subcommittee was convened to address a goal on increasing family involvement. One suggestion that is being developed and supported in Pennsylvania and other states is the establishment of a Juvenile Justice Family Peer Advocate. The role of this specialized service is to provide assistance and guidance from a peer who can help the family navigate the child serving systems (specifically the juvenile justice system). Family Peer Advocates support families to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to effectively partner with the child serving systems on behalf of their children. There are 30 counties in Pennsylvania that currently support a Family Peer Advocacy project, and all provide cross-system support to families. Two counties have developed juvenile justice-specific family peer advocacy services.

PDF RESOURCE: Family Involvement in Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice System

Rhode Island:

Project Hope is a statewide initiative for Rhode Island youth ages 12-18 with serious emotional disturbances who are transitioning out of the Rhode Island Training School for Youth back into their own communities. Family members are key staff for Project Hope, building upon the existing state Family Service Coordinator model. The primary role of the Family Service Coordinators, who are family members with experience parenting a special needs child or adolescent, is to advocate for the child and family, helping them navigate the interagency case review process, supporting the child and family and assuring that Individual Service Plans which meet their needs are fully implemented.

PDF RESOURCE: Project Hope Abstract & Narrative

Examples of Family/Professional Partnership County Profiles:

Three examples of how counties have developed family and professional partnerships are detailed in the following document.

PDF RESOURCE: Examples of Family/Professional Partnership County Profiles