Vermont Federation of Families in Washington D.C.


Staff as well as several young adult leaders attended the 24th Annual National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health Conference

We just got back from a very full and exciting few days in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. I mention “nation’s capital”, because each time I go to D.C., I am re-reminded of how blessed we are as a nation, that we have freedom’s because of so many who gave their lives, and that I am a very emotional, patriotic person! I cry at the national anthem and the memorials on the mall in D.C..

Here are a few things that stand out to me as I think back on our Federation of Families conference experience this year:

  1. A full day of training for those of us who are nationally certified Parent Support Providers, Joy, Cindy and Kathy. This day consisted of specifics of the certification process, the data and research that supports family to family peer support, various workshops on self care and helping families take care of themselves, motivational interviewing, person centered planning, and writing parent support provider work into Medicaid plans and waivers.  
  2. Excellent speakers like Judge Mathis telling his story of being a street youth who rose from jail to judge and keeping the faith and holding on. Lynn Chwatsky, from Sesame Street, speaking about their educational materials for children and families on topics like, trauma, deployment, incarcerated parents, and resiliency for our children.  
  3. Our visit with Vermont’s legislative delegation. Courtney and I spoke with staff members of Senators Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welch about family to family peer supports, family and youth voice, and youth in transition in Vermont. As a Vermonter, I am very aware that we have excellent representation in D.C., and that they cannot represent us excellently without hearing from us about what is important to Vermont families, youth and children.

Last , but certainly not least important, is to say thank you to all of the families and young adults we have assisted and partnered with this past year. Thank you for your trust in us as peers, and thank you for inviting us into your lives. Our lives are richer for knowing you. Thank you also to our family support partners and our partners in the Vermont System of Care for children, youth and Families. Together we are making this small state a better, healthier place to live.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Kathy Holsopple

Executive Director 

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