Child and Family Advocacy: Alive and Well in Arizona

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The need for “Child & Family advocacy” is felt greater in Arizona than in at least 45 other states in America. Year in and year out, Arizona ranks in the bottom four or five states in child status indicators. There has to be some answers!

We believe that we have some answers here at South Mountain Community College located at the base of South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. South Mountain Community College (SMCC) has developed a “Behavioral Health Services” program. Cordelia Wright, the Director of the SMCC Counseling Department, inspired the program. In collaboration with community leaders, local advocates and the Arizona Department of Health Services, Cordelia guided the work into the existing program. This program has a range of courses dealing with a full spectrum of behavioral health services, including a course in “Child and Family advocacy”.

The “Child & Family advocacy” course, BHS 290, was developed by Steven R. Isham, an Adjunct Faculty member at SMCC. The course is designed to give participants an overview of the child/family related systems in Arizona, how to assist Parents and family’s in navigating these systems and the accessing of available community resources.

The course curriculum covers Advocacy, Parental Rights, the Family Unit, Education, Special Education, Behavioral Health, Juvenile Justice, Developmental Disabilities, Communication, Documentation, Due Process, Funding, Wrap Around, Multiple Systems Navigation and Community Resources. The class teaching methodology is interactive, with participants past personal and professional experiences critical to the successful implementation of the curriculum’s goals and objectives. The use of guest speakers, videos, role-playing, and advocacy planning is also important.

Parents are now and always have been the best advocate for their child. They know their child better than anyone and they know what is in the best interest of their child. They possess the motivation. This Child & Family Advocacy” course gives them some of the skills and abilities to bridge what they have to what they need, want and should have for their child and family.

We are excited about the tremendous possibilities generated by the “Child & Family Advocacy” course and the Behavioral Health Services programming through South Mountain Community College. Our hope is that Child & Family Advocacy will become an essential element for the curriculum not only for parents and families but for professionals entrusted with assisting families in the accessing and acquisition of services for their child and family.

For more information, please contact:

Cordelia Wright, M.ED/ED.S.
Counselor/Director Behavioral Health
(602) 243-8141 Office
(602) 243-8279 Fax
South Mountain Community College
7050 South 24th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85042
cordelia.wright@smcmail.maricopa.edu
www.smc.maricopa.edu

Steven R. Isham, M.A., C.B.S.W.
(623) 907-2828
2402 N. 112th Lane
Avondale, Arizona 85323
isham623@aol.com

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