MANSFIELD — After a year hiatus, Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center’s Parent Mentor program is returning to its repertoire of services.
A Parent Mentor is the parent of a child with a disability who is employed by local education agencies and Educational Service Centers to help families and school districts provide support, information and training services. Parent Mentors are free resources available to all, so income is never an issue for assistance. Presently, 74 projects are funded throughout Ohio using state and federal funds.
MOESC will be bringing in two individuals to serve its client districts.
Jen Crum, MOESC Director of Student Services, said bringing back the Parent Mentor program is a vital part of MOESC’s mission to serve students by helping parents.
“First, Parent Mentors support parents in their understanding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and how the requirements of the law with Ohio’s guidelines relate to the rights of their child with a disability. This support and understanding offers parents the ability to effectively communicate on behalf of their child’s specific needs. Additionally, the Parent Mentor program offers training opportunities for parents and the community to become more informed on topics related to diverse learners, parenting a child with special needs, and developing appropriate transition opportunities for their child.”
On the other side, the Parent Mentor supports the work of special education by conveying the parent perspective to the districts and helps the parents to understand their district’s responsibilities and perspectives, and works as a technical assistant to educator partners. A Parent Mentor also is a partner to community agencies that support children with exceptional abilities. They help connect families to local resources and help build networks of support for the child, school and, community.
“Parent Mentors are a valuable resource to both parents and districts,” Crum said. “Their role as liaison between parent and school district personnel offers a great opportunity to build positive relationships and develop the most appropriate educational program for the child.”