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New Project Aims to Increase the Number of BIPOC Family Peer Advocates to Enhance Local Behavioral Health Services

As part of a movement to reimagine behavioral health services for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in Rochester, three local support organizations will use a newly awarded grant to better connect BIPOC peer advocates with clients who may have shared experiences while helping them cope, heal, and thrive.

Coordinated Care Services, Inc., Partners in Community Development, and Rochester Regional Health will use a $600,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to enhance services for families of children in these communities who may need additional support.

According to Anne Wilder, president and CEO of Coordinated Care Services, Inc., the grant is unique in that it will allow these organizations to recruit Family Peer Advocates from racially and economically diverse backgrounds.

“Family Peer Advocates help families of children with social, emotional, mental health, and developmental needs navigate the complexities of their lives, so it’s important that they share some lived experiences with their clients,” said Wilder.

As the lead agency for this work, Coordinated Care Services, Inc., will provide project management and implementation support, including data collection and analysis. BIPOC PEEEEEEK, a program of Partners in Community Development, will recruit, prepare, mentor, and support BIPOC family members through a credentialing process facilitated by the nonprofit Families Together in New York State, provide ongoing opportunities to assist family members, offer education for clinical staff, and work with clinics to help place Family Peer Advocates into employment. Rochester Regional Health will also create employment opportunities within the RRH system for individuals who have completed the credentialing process.


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