Toddler laying on grass, smiling and holding a small flower in hand. Families as Faculty (FAF) is a nationwide program that has been a part of Parents Reaching Out for over 15 years. FAF brings together families of children with disabilities and future health care professionals in a structured framework for professionals to learn from families and their experiences in order to be more effective at providing the care needed.

During the FAF process, students are given the chance to be a part of a home visit with a volunteering host family from Parents Reaching Out.  During this visit, the family will share their experiences, both positive and negative, in regards to the health care system and how these experiences have impacted or changed the life of their child. In this program, the families are the faculty and are the experts on their child, providing an out-of-classroom learning experience for the students. This program reveals the power of the parent/family perspective and it is presented as a crucial part of the effort to improve outcomes.

Students will learn how they, as future professionals, can work in partnership with families to improve systems, services, and outcomes for children with disabilities. In addition, the students will see the child with a disability as a member of the family unit and an individual themselves, not a disability.

Our expectation is that the students will come away from the FAF program with:

  • An understanding that all children and families are different, each with unique strengths, values, beliefs, and challenges.
  • A view of families as resources with whom they can partner with and learn from in order to achieve better outcomes for children.
  • A consideration of their own personal beliefs, values, and attitudes about children, families, the educational and medical systems, and their capacity to create positive change.

When health care systems listen to families, outcomes for children improve. FAF starts the process at the beginning – with the students who will become the leaders in health care. Together, families and professionals can work together towards positive change.

Comments from past students:

“Each child is an individual and has their own personality, take that into consideration.”

“Validate what the family is doing right.”

“Listen to the parents, they know what their children need most.”

“Appreciate and acknowledge the struggles each family is facing.”

“When working with a family, consider the long-term not just what is happening right now.”

“Be considerate to the needs of the family.”

“Listen to what the family is telling you.”

“Take siblings into consideration, ask how they are and acknowledge them.”

“Ask the patient what they would like or what is important to them.”

“Let the child/patient be involved.”

Please join us for a workshop, or contact us for more information on how you can help support us in our efforts, complete the form below.