Real-world care at the Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships

Posted on October 10, 2022

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Frederick Douglas ’82 has been supporting families for 30 years.

Early on she adopted the System of Care philosophy, focusing on collaboration across agencies, families, and youth to make decisions and provide support. “The process recognizes that the family has the most important information to meet their own needs,” she says.

Now, she serves at UNCG’s Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships. There, as the Family Training Coordinator with the new NC Youth and Family Voices Amplified program, she arranges training and aid to professionals who help support families’ mental health. The innovative project, launched in July, aims to enhance family-driven, youth-led care through education and community partnerships.

“Parents and caregivers of children who live with mental illness can feel isolated, alone, and hopeless,” Douglas says. “Even though they are the expert on their children and their family’s needs, they are many times blamed for their child’s behavior, and their voices are disregarded when they share what is best for their own families. The Family Partner walks beside the parent and supports the parent in making their voice heard.”

Her vital coordinator role requires lived experience, she notes, explaining that real-world experience with mental health and navigating the medical system is key. From her time supporting a family member through behavioral health care, she found herself particularly prepared for this exciting role – a unique position in a field that increasingly acknowledges the importance of whole-family engagement in care for family members who may be struggling. Now she will train future professionals who will work with agencies and communities to make a positive impact for many families.

“As a graduate of UNCG, I never dreamed that I would partner with the University in so many initiatives,” she said. “These experiences have established an open, honest, and transparent rapport.“

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