Family Network on Disabilities (FND) was founded in 1985 by a group of parents of children with disabilities who came together for mutual support and information-sharing. FND is a grassroots organization for persons with disabilities and their families that is family-centered and family-driven.
Family Network on Disabilities is a national network of individuals of all ages who may be at-risk, have disabilities, or have special needs and their families, professionals, and concerned citizens. The mission of FND is to strive for the complete integration and equality of persons with disabilities in a society without barriers and to serve families of children with disabilities, ages birth through 26, who have the full range of disabilities described in section 602(3) of IDEA. FND is a parent organization as defined in section 671(a)(2) of IDEA 2004.
Family Network on Disabilities operates the following programs in Florida:
Parent Education Network (PEN), Parents of the Panhandle Information Network (POPIN), and Parents Educating Parents in the Community (PEP) are all programs designed to ensure that parents of children with the full range of disabilities have the training and information they need to prepare their children for not only school, but to be able to lead productive, independent lives to the fullest extent possible. These programs offer free help and information to families of students with disabilities and the professionals that serve them. POPIN provides these services to families living in the Panhandle of Florida from Escambia to Alachua County. PEN provides these services to the nine most southern counties in the state (Collier, Hendry, Glades, Martin, Broward, Miami-Dade, Lee, Palm Beach, and Monroe), and PEP provides these services to families in isolated, rural areas of Florida.
Family STAR (Support, Training, Assistance, Resources) is Florida’s Family to Family Health Information Center (F2F HIC). This program provides information and support to families of children and youth with special health care needs.
The Jan La Belle Scholarship Program was established in 2009 to provide a financial resource to individuals with disabilities who desire to pursue their personal and career goals through attendance at a postsecondary institution. Awards are made annually. Awards are targeted at individuals between the ages of 16-24 who have a disability and who are pursuing higher education. Their school of choice may be academic or vocational.
The Youth Advocacy and Action Project Youth Action and Advocacy is a project that targets youth and young adults with disabilities, ages 14 to 22, receiving special education and related services. Youth Action and Advocacy activities are designed to enable individuals with disabilities and their families to participate more effectively with professionals in meeting the vocational, independent living, and rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities. The activities and resources provided by Youth Action and Advocacy are free to families. The project serves youth with disabilities by providing training in leadership and advocacy. The youth put those skills into practice by advocating for themselves and for improvement in their communities. By motivating youth to action, we hope to inspire a generation to take responsibility for their communities. The ultimate goal of this project is to leave in place a well trained, confident group of youth with disabilities who will then be able to advocate for themselves – to improve their own lives – as well as their communities.
FND provides assistance and support to parents, educators, community organizations, and faith-based groups to increase the kinds and types of parental involvement and engagement to increase student academic achievement across Florida. FND provides these free services to form and foster partnerships between home and school to build sustainable relationships for student success.
All services provided by Family Network on Disabilities are delivered to families in a format that is suitable to their needs and culture by professionals who have a personal understanding of what it’s like to have a disability or a loved one with a disability.