About Family School

Parenting is difficult, and there are few social services to support family leaders; most social services are designed to help struggling children, not their parents. Children struggle when their parents struggle, as parents often do, even more than their children. Intuitively, parents know how important they are in contributing to healthy child adjustment, and they want to know how they can do their part with maximum confidence and minimum stress. Understanding healthy family systems concepts can help parents lead their families with no regrets so their children can have a solid start on their future—and ours!

We Come to YOU!

Similar to Doctors Without Borders, Family School brings its services to parents and families at locations that are familiar: schools, community centers, churches, libraries, and other community spaces. Our teachers are licensed psychotherapists who believe that a little bit of time-tested, evidence-based information put into intentional practice can go a long way. We want to meet you where you are, so we make our programs accessible by bringing this powerful material to places that you know.

And because we use a teaching model, our services are more affordable than private counseling sessions. In fact, Family School keeps a scholarship fund, maintained by private donors and grants, which means cost will not prohibit any parent or family leader from taking our classes.

The Surgeon General’s Directive

In 1999, the Surgeon General published the first report on mental health (Substance Abuse…). The purpose of the report was to convey that mental health is fundamental to general health, defining mental health as the “successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and to cope with adversity; from early childhood until late life, mental health is the springboard of thinking and communication skills, learning, emotional growth, resilience, and self-esteem” (p. vii).

Given the findings of this report, the Surgeon General recommended: 1) continuing to build a science base; 2) taking action to overcome the stigma often associated with acknowledging one’s own emotional difficulties; 3) improving public awareness of effective treatment; 4) ensuring the supply of mental health services and providers; 5) ensuring the delivery of state-of-the-art treatments; 6) tailoring treatment to age, gender, race and culture; 7) facilitating entry into treatment; and 8) reducing financial barriers to treatment (Substance Abuse…, 1999).

Since that report was published over 20 years ago, scientists and mental health clinicians have made significant progress toward the Surgeon General’s recommendations. Still, we have a long way to go to achieving these goals, according to a recent address by the 16th Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, during a keynote discussion at the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services’ 38th annual conference (Canady, 2020). Family School contributes to all eight of the Surgeon General’s recommendations by offering a family health innovation that removes as many barriers to preventative family mental health care as possible.

World-Class Service

Furthermore, Family School seeks to provide world-class care—a quality of service equaling or exceeding what would be available to the U.S. President and the first family or any person of extraordinary financial means or social influence (Grimmett et al., 2017; Grimmett et al., 2018). “The world-class standard…operates on the principle that health care is a human right; therefore, income, class, or background should not restrict access to excellent mental health services” (Grimmett et al., pp. 206-207).

Family School loves parents! We know that there’s no more difficult job than parenting, and we also know that there are few social services to support family leaders. Family School is all about providing evidence-based support. We know that the success of the whole depends on the strength and organization of the leadership, so we help by fortifying family leaders.

Family School is also committed to research, and seeks on-going funding for projects that will continue to contribute to the literature base on how BFST impacts families. In addition, Family School offers training, supervision and employment to MFT interns and licensees. These additional programs are funded by training grants.

  • Canady, V. A. (2020). Former U.S. surgeon general discusses MH concerns, disparities. Mental Health Weekly, 30(38), 5–6. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1002/mhw.32530
  • Grimmett, M. A., Beckwith, A., Lupton-Smith, H., Agronin, J., & Englert, M. (2017). A Community Counseling Center Model for Multicultural and Social Justice Counselor Education. Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy, 4(2), 161–171.
  • Grimmett, M.A., Lupton-Smith, H., Beckwith, A., Englert, M.K., & Messinger, E. (2018). The Community Counseling, Education, and Research Center (CCERC) Model: Addressing Community Mental Health Needs Through Engagement Scholarship. Journal of Higher Education Outreach & Engagement, 22(3), 201–230.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, D. R. M. C. for M. H. S., & National Inst. of Mental Health, D. R., MD. (1999). Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Executive Summary.