Parent to Parent program

parent puzzleThe Hope Institute for Children and Families is developing a statewide Parent to Parent (P2P) Program in an effort to provide additional support to Illinois families who have children of any age with developmental disabilities. Hope Family Center’s P2P program will offer parent to parent support as a core resource for families with children who have developmental disabilities. Through a one to one “match”, trained Support Parents provide information and emotional support to families and assist them in finding information and resources.

Parent to Parent (P2P) USA is a national non-profit organization committed to providing P2P support across the country. Currently, there are 37 states with P2P programs.   The Hope Family Center has been working closely with P2P USA, as well as other states’ programs, to build our Parent to Parent program.

The purpose of the Parent to Parent program is to match trained Support Parents with Referred Parents who are experiencing a time of challenge or are seeking support and/or information.  Parents of children with developmental disabilities who accept and understand their child’s disability are one of the best sources of information and emotional support for Referred Parents. This unique kind of support can only come from another parent who has already “been there”.

How it works

Parents volunteer to become trained as a Support Parent; this training is done in either a face-to-face or web-based format. The Hope Institute will speak with each Referred Parent and Support Parent to get to know them, assess their needs, and gather information to make a beneficial match. Parents are then organized in a database with key descriptive information so an appropriate match can be made.

Support Parents are matched to a Referred Parent based on similarities (common concerns, child’s diagnosis, geographic area, etc.). The match is made within 24-48 hours of request by referred parent.

Support Parents make at least 4 contacts with the referred parent within the first 8 weeks of accepting the match; contact between the parents may continue as needed/desired.

Support Parent Training

Support Parent Trainings prepare parents to take on the role of “Support Parent.”  Some of the training components include: program orientation, active listening and communication skills, problem solving, sharing of family stories, and explanation of available state and national resources.  Both face to face and web-based trainings will be available.  If you would like to be notified when this training is available, contact Jennifer Lipscomb by email at or by telephone at 217-588-7528.


Contact Center Director, Jennifer Lipscomb, if you would like to become a Support Parent or would like additional information about the program. Contact information is below.

Jennifer E. Lipscomb, MBA
Director of the Hope Family Center
The Hope Institute for Children and Families
5220 South 6th Street Road
Springfield, IL 62703

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