BEST: Basic Emotional Skills Training

family support program


peer-run family support

Having a child with emotional and behavioral difficulties can be overwhelming. This peer-run program helps families raising a child or youth up to age 21 get the services and support they need from family peer advocates (FPA) who have walked in their shoes

Family peer support

Family peer advocates (FPA) share a common bond with the families they help: each has a child, grandchild or foster child who has serious behavioral or emotional difficulties. This allows them to provide support and advocacy from the perspective of truly understanding the difficult situations families face on a daily basis.

Family peer advocacy is a structured strength-based service to support the caregiver and enhance their skills to be able to help their child.

Family peer advocates provide:

  • Information and referral for linkages to doctors, clinics, and other community support services
  • Help with navigating the education, mental health, behavioral health, addiction, juvenile justice, and child welfare systems
  • Necessary skills and information to families so they can advocate effectively for their child
  • Parent/caregiver educational workshops and support groups
  • Parent skill development

Family and youth activities

Families raising a child with emotional or behavioral challenges often find participation in community activities difficult. Several times a year, the Family Support Program (FSP) offers family activities such as bowling, summer picnic, social skills groups, and Saturday arts and recreation.

FSP also provides group/recreation opportunities in a variety of community settings with other youth with similar needs.

Family support groups

Family support groups are open to parents, foster parents, grandparents, or any caregiver/guardian to provide support and alleviate isolation. Groups are conducted via video chat. One-on-one phone support is also available.

Individual and group respite


Facing the reality of having a child with significant emotional and/or behavioral challenges is often an overwhelming experience for families, with many caregivers feeling lost and isolated. FSP can provide short-term individual respite by a trained, experienced, respite worker to give caregivers a much-needed break. For more information on how to apply for this service, contact

ECMC Consent Form

For patients of ECMC Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) and/or their families looking for help or follow up.

Intake Form

For families of youth with mental health challenges looking for help.

Consent to Share Information Form

For families/individuals giving MHA the authorization to share information.

Family peer advocacy is provided by the Erie County Family Support Service, Child and Family Treatment Supports (CFTS), and High Fidelity Wraparound Services based on eligibility.

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