Become a Family Navigator

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Position description: Family Navigator

The Center for Family Involvement is enlisting culturally and linguistically diverse family members to volunteer as Family Navigators for the Family to Family Network of Virginia.

The CFI is housed within the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University. The Partnership is Virginia’s university center for excellence in developmental disabilities research, training and dissemination. The CFI works with families to increase their skills as decision-makers, mentors and leaders so that family members and others with disabilities can lead the lives they want. The CFI and the Partnership believe that families are best served by other families, especially those with similar experiences and challenges.

CFI also believes that families are the experts on their own children and can pass this expertise on to others. To promote this belief and practice, the CFI operates the Family to Family Network of Virginia, consisting of local Network hubs in seven (and growing) regions in Virginia. To support this work, the CFI is recruiting and training culturally and linguistically diverse parents, grandparents, siblings, and self-advocates as Family Navigators.

Through the efforts of part-time Local Network Coordinators, Cultural Brokers as needed, and a handful of volunteer culturally and linguistically diverse Family Navigators, family members of individuals with disabilities (from birth-26) receive emotional, informational and systems navigational support. This includes helping families identify and obtain information, resources, services and community supports, as well as providing assistance with using disability services and systems. Family Navigators may also serve as family leaders in effecting public policy and systems change in their locality.

Essential functions of a Family Navigator

  • Receive name of family asking for assistance from the Local F2F Network Coordinator; contact the family within 48 hours
  • Provide emotional support, information and referral advice, and link the family to community support and service
  • Volunteer approximately five hours per month, (e.g., assisting families, attending trainings and meetings as needed)
  • Follow up with referred family to provide additional supports; provide Local F2F Network Coordinator with updated information as needed
  • Help families as they prepare for service planning meetings (e.g., IEPs and Medicaid waiver)
  • Share resources with the Local F2F Network Coordinator, contributing to the Center for Family Involvement’s resource listings
  • Attend regular meetings held by the Local F2F Network Coordinator for informal trainings, teambuilding and support (stipends available)
  • Participate in job-related trainings and agree to attend one formal training per year (stipends available)
  • Maintain ongoing contact with the Local F2F Network Coordinator regarding workload, professional development and any issues that may arise

Qualifications

  • Be a parent or caregiver (grandparent, sibling) of a child/young adult with disabilities or special health care needs
  • OR  Be a young adult with disabilities

  • Live in Virginia and/or in a local network service area
  • Have a good working knowledge of local resources, services, disability service delivery system, regional culture, etc.
  • Have strong interpersonal and communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Possess good skills in developing relationships and connecting with others
  • Be collaborative, self-directed, self-motivated, organized and able to multitask
  • Have flexibility with their schedule
  • Have some basic computer skills (helpful)

Commitment

The Family to Family Network of Virginia Family Navigator agrees to volunteer approximately five hours per month. Stipends are available for trainings and other work-related activities as decided by the F2F Network Coordinator and/or Center for Family Involvement Director.

Click on the Apply button below to submit your on-line application. For the two requested reference letters, attach them to your on-line application or email them separately to Nickie Brandenburger at tnbrandenburg@vcu.edu