The Family Resource Network (FRN) and Family Training and Advocacy Center (FTAC) grew out of a long tradition of strong advocacy by family members across the state of Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia. Over the last three decades these family members put in countless hours working to see that their loved ones had access to services delivered in a recovery oriented manner. Responding to the needs of families to access information about the behavioral health system, as well as the support groups who educate families, various independent family support groups and advocates began to meet together. The goal was to start to strengthen "the family voice" in the Philadelphia behavioral health system, pool resources, and make it easier for families to access the many services offered by its members and the system.
The Family Resource Network (FRN) was officially started in 2007, with a small grant provided by the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBH/IDS).
FRN is a unique, city-funded local coalition of groups and individuals that provide support and education for family members and friends of people with mental health challenges in the Philadelphia area.
As a result of this unique collaborative relationship of the FRN members:
- Families are able to acquire more immediate information, and have a choice of support groups, thereby providing them with a greater variety of information and resources.
- FRN members meet on a bi-monthly basis to learn about new issues and initiatives in the state and the city's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, share resources and updates, and collaborate on various events or trainings.
- FRN is an active participant with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services regarding Family Inclusion in Recovery Transformation efforts of providers, developed standards for family inclusion, and participates with the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Leadership Council.
The current collaboration consists of the Family Resource Network, Family Training & Advocacy Center, the Training & Education Center and Parents Involved Network (both from the Mental Health Association of South Eastern PA.), DBHIDS Family Support Specialist and other key DBH staff, Philadelphia Connections, National Alliance on Mental Illness: Philadelphia Office, affiliates and groups, Consumer Satisfaction Team, and Child and Family Connections.
Advocacy and leadership efforts continue as the next generation of family members not only seek the best services, but, also work toward the time when including a significant person in the recovery process will be seen as standard policy and practice.