This podcast delves into the lived expertise and the parent partner program in Mississippi. The discussion features two key guests, Christina Simmons and Jennifer Morgan. Together, they shed light on their roles and experiences in the early stages of this program. Christina Simmons, a parent partner in Mississippi, supports and empowers parents navigating the child welfare system. Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of parental involvement in all aspects of the process.
Jennifer Morgan is the Parent Events Program Manager at the Office of State Public Defender in Mississippi. Their goal is to enhance parent defense in the state, ensuring families receive comprehensive support.
The parent partner program involves a parent who has successfully navigated the child welfare system and reunited with their family. This parent will partner with another parent who is currently going through an open Child Protection Services (CPS) case. In child welfare, CPS will provide the parent with a service agreement that includes tasks such as parenting classes. As a parent partner, she mentors and guides parents through their tasks. That way, they can complete them before their court date or next hearing. The vision for the parent partner program is to implement interdisciplinary teams comprising attorneys, social workers, and peer support partners for every parent in need.
Christina and the other parent partners are trailblazers in this program. Despite encountering challenges, they rely on trial and error to navigate them. This is because this type of interaction is new, especially in the youth court system in Mississippi. Nonetheless, they are committed to overcoming these obstacles and progressing through continuous learning and improvement.
Tune into the podcast and learn their goals to realize this vision statewide, lessons they have learned along the way, and advice for achieving high levels of inclusion and teamwork in a professional setting.