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4 May, 2021.

A look at our Peer Advocate Services

The Family Counseling Center works daily with families and youth. Since the organization’s founding in 1976, it has believed that strong families help to build strong communities. Today, the organization works with families through the Children and Family Services program providing a comprehensive mental health system of care for children, adolescents, and families. The program is child-centered and family-focused, working within communities, and helping both parents and youth to develop empowerment and self-advocacy skills.

Highlighted within the Center’s Children and Family Services (and the program’s Children and Family Treatment Support Services) are Family Peer and Youth Peer Support Services provided by Family and Youth Peer Advocates.

The Family Peer Support Services provide aid and guidance to parents and family members of children experiencing challenges in the home, school, residential placement or community, and acts as a bridge between families and providers. Similarly, the organization’s Youth Peer Support Services provide training and support to youth who are experiencing social, medical, emotional, developmental, substance use, and/or behavioral challenges.

Family Peer and Youth Peer Advocates are truly peers; they are individuals with lived-experience similar to that of their clients and are credentialed by Families Together in New York State and recognized by New York’s Office of Mental Health.

“The work our Peer Advocates do is truly amazing,” Michael Countryman, Executive Director of the Family Counseling Center said. “They create deep partnerships with their clients and work with them to build skills for coping, wellness, goal-setting, and self-advocacy. A Peer Advocate is able to say to a client that they understand what the family or youth is going through because, unlike most professionals, the Advocate has a similar experience. They connect youth and their families to needed services and empower them to build lasting change in the lives of their children and themselves. The work our Advocates do can instill the hope that tomorrow will be brighter.”

Medicaid eligible individuals may be referred for Children and Family Treatment Support Services to gain access to the Peer Advocates. Advocates work with clients to connect families with services, foster productive and respectful partnerships, and assist families and youth to develop strengths, goals, and increase independence.

Those who are not Medicaid eligible and reside in Fulton County can access Family Support Services, quarterly recreational family outings, and the Warm Line Support Group.

More information can be found here: