Family Support Partners
Family Support Partners are individuals who have lived experience parenting biological or adoptive children with emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges in Virginia. These individuals provide peer support to parents in our program by assisting with successful engagement, advocacy, and connection to formal and informal resources to build resilience as a family.
Meet a Family Support Partner
Penny joined UMFS in July 2020 after completing her Peer Support Certification. Although her background is in Corporate Recruiting, her life experience inspired her career change. Jobin says, “I wanted to use my lived experience–as a mother of two, one of whom fought serious mental health and substance use challenges for many years–to support others”
As a Family Support Partner, Jobin draws on her wealth of lived experience to provide empathetic support, assist with identifying strengths and needs, and to advocate for families navigating the numerous systems and programs available in their community. Additionally, Jobin’s favorite part of her job is really listening to parents. She enjoys encouraging them and helping them to see that they are not alone. She also loves to work collaboratively to find solutions for any issue!
Jobin’s favorite UMFS value is ‘start with strengths always’. She shares, “No matter how severe one’s issue or problem is, we focus on the positive first. We start all family meetings with celebrations, and just that small, positive step diffuses tension before it even starts. Simple, but genius.”
When she is not working, Jobin enjoys, hiking, exercise, good food with friends and family, and traveling! She has a personal goal to visit every Caribbean Island and European country and can’t wait for traveling to become more accessible again.
Finally, Jobin shared, “I am very thankful and proud to be working at UMFS. What a great company that invests time, energy, and resources in not only its clients and community, but in its employees as well.”
Become a Family Support Partner
Support the System of Care in the Northern Virginia region by providing peer support to assigned cases in the program by assisting parents with successful engagement, advocacy, and connection to formal and informal resources helping them to understand wraparound process/services and build resiliency as a family.
Serve families with children through age 21 that have a serious emotional disturbance that is diagnosable under the DSM-IV. Population to be served will have one or more of the following: a mental health problem, a co-occurring mental health, and substance abuse problem, contact with the social services system, juvenile justice or court system, require emergency services or require long term community mental health and other supports.
If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Regional Director in NOVA, Laura Giunta, at lgiunta@UMFS.org or 703.941.9008 x2099.