Wisdom, Resources, Advocacy, Parent to Parent Support
Family Resource Specialists (FRSs) are a diverse and multilingual team of parents of children and youth with special needs who are trained to help other parents at the local level. FRSs are trained to help parents advocate throughout their child’s development, from preschool to adult life.
How the Family Resource Specialist Can Help You
How the Family Resource Specialist Can Help You:
- Meet with parents,
- Review your child’s IEP with you,
- Assist you in preparing an agenda for your child’s upcoming IEP meeting,
- Attend your child’s IEP with you for support,
- Provide resources and information to you to increase your knowledge to advocate effectively for your child,
- Guide you toward resources at key transitions throughout your child’s development (transitions to preschool, elementary school, and secondary education, and from school to adult life), and
- Strengthen your capacity to advocate for your child across systems by providing technical assistance and guide you to relevant workshops.
How do I start the process?
- Your child must be registered with your county Special Child Health Services (SCHS) Case Management Unit (CMU) and have a Case Manager (CM).
How do I know if I have an SCHS CM?
- Your child must have a developmental disability and/or a special healthcare need
- Contact your County SCHS-CMU to find out if your child is registered. For more information go to
What is the process to access an FRS?
- The Case Manager from SCHS must refer you to the FRS
Useful Links & Websites
What is a Medical Home? | State of New Jersey Department of Health Medical Home page with helpful resources for parents and providers
Shared Plan of Care | New Jersey Department of Health web page explains Shared Plan of Care for families of children/youth with special health care needs
Transition to Adulthood | The REACH project at SPAN is your source for all things related to Transition
The Family Guide to Transition Services in New Jersey | Answers questions about Transition to help make it a successful period for youth/young adults with disabilities and their families
La Guía para la Familia de Servicios de Transición en Nueva Jersey | Esta guía tiene la intención de responder sus preguntas y trata de hacer que la transición sea un período exitoso para familias, adolescentes y adultos jóvenes con discapacidades
Alternatives to Guardianship | Outlines options to Guardianship when a child reaches adulthood
My Health Passport | A convenient tool in English and Spanish to complete and share with your child’s health care professional
NJ Autism Registry: Information for Families | Overview of NJ’s Autism registry
What Our Families Say
I called dozens of state, county and local agencies seeking guidance and support regarding my daughter’s recent disabling illness. Rarely, if ever, did I receive return calls. When I did, I was told there wasn’t much that could be done to accommodate her, and that there are simply “gaps” in our healthcare and social services systems. When I reached your Family Resource Specialist, things changed. You opened my eyes to help that could be provided by my daughter’s school, via an IEP and/or 504 plan. You carefully and thoroughly guided me through the process of accessing these services for her, by sending a certified letter to the school and securing letters from my daughter’s doctors to document her needs. You have been there for us every step of the way. Your knowledge about how to navigate education and health systems has been priceless to us, and I cannot thank you enough. Without your guidance, my daughter would not be able to make it through her day.
Mita Bhattacharya, Multilingual Hindi and Bengali Family Resource Specialist: Atlantic, Burlington, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean Counties
Tara Szymanek, Family Resource Specialist: Cape May, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren Counties
Paulina Vargas, Bilingual Spanish Family Resource Specialist: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Union, Camden, and Salem Counties