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Parent Empowerment Program (PEP)

PEP is a training program for family peer advocates.  These advocates are parents or caregivers of children with emotional and behavioral challenges who work directly with other parents of children experiencing similar challenges.

Peter S. Jensen, M.D. and Kimberly Hoagwood, Ph.D., in collaboration with a group of researchers, practitioners, parents, parent advocates, and policy makers, developed PEP.  A conceptual framework that combines science and advocacy by integrating behavior change theory and principles of parent support underlies PEP training.

PEP enables family peer advocates to hone their skills and knowledge about the latest advances in diagnosis, treatment, services, and effective advocacy with families who are grappling with the complexities of the mental health system (and related systems, such as schools) and trying to get adequate care for their child.

Basic PEP Training includes a 5-day interactive seminar, high quality manual and materials, and six months of bi-weekly follow-up consultation calls. Specialized PEP programs in the areas of child welfare and juvenile justice help parents and staff in those systems to work together to address the mental health needs of children.

Basic PEP workshops cover the following critical topic areas:

  • Problem Identification and Priority Setting Skills
  • Engagement, Listening, and Boundary Setting Skills
  • Group Management Skills
  • Mental Health Evaluation, Diagnosis &Treatment
  • The Mental Health System of Care
  • The School System and Special Education Options