The Arc of Allegan County partners with Michigan Alliance for Families (MAF) to provide information, support and education for families who have children (birth through age 26) who receive (or may be eligible to receive) special education services. The Educational Advocacy program assists families in guiding and supporting them through the special education process as a bridge between education staff and families.
Advocates educate on the proper processes to avoid breakdowns in communication to ensure that the child’s needs are met by means of referrals, recommendations, resources, materials, and meetings when necessary. Advocates listen to concerns from families and schools, create agendas for meetings, facilitate discussion between school staff and families, promote positive problem solving, bring best practices to the table, and aim to assist families and schools in keeping open communication that puts the student’s need at the center of every conversation.
Through Michigan Alliance for Families, parents can connect directly to a local mentor to address the families’ needs. MAF Parent Mentors are parents or close family members of children who have or are going through the special education system, therefore they have firsthand experience navigating these support systems. All Michigan families are able to access 1:1 support, electronic and printed resource information, and referrals to local community resources.
Requesting the assistance of an advocate from The Arc includes our partner, Michigan Alliance for Families.
Step 1: Parents/educators/guardians will contact Michigan Alliance for Families at 1-800-552-4821 to request support from a Parent Mentor.
Step 2: Michigan Alliance will connect you to our region’s Parent Mentor.
Step 3: You will receive support and education regarding special education services from MAF’s parent mentor.
If it is determined, that an Educational Advocate will be needed, the Parent Mentor will notify The Arc of Allegan County and an Advocate will be assigned.