Children’s Trust is excited to partner with parents and caregivers across South Carolina for its inaugural statewide parent advisory council.

Beginning in April 2024, the parent advisory council will consist of a diverse group of caregivers from across the state, including mothers, fathers, grandparents and other kinship caregivers. Children’s Trust aims to engage parents to better ensure their voices are heard within community systems through shared visioning, training, goal setting and action.

The council will meet remotely monthly, with two in-person meetings. Applications for the parent advisory council are open until Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024.

Leesa Nelson, Children’s Trust parent engagement coordinator, explains the significance of introducing the parent advisory council this February.

“We’ve launched the statewide parent advisory council applications this month to highlight National Parent Leadership Month and the importance of making parent and caregiver lived experience the standard of all welfare work, especially in prevention work.”

Listening and understanding parents’ perspectives is imperative to learning the diverse backgrounds and cultures of the communities Children’s Trust serves. Council members will provide input to Children’s Trust’s prevention programs and initiatives to ensure they are meaningful and impactful to meet communities’ unique needs. The parent advisory council will also offer guidance to other communities and statewide initiatives building child and family well-being.

Nelson explains the extensive planning and preparation that formed the foundation for the parent advisory council.

“For the last two years, the parent engagement initiative, along with parent members of the implementation parent advisory council (IPAC), have been working together to create a blueprint that will set the statewide parent advisory council up for success,” said Nelson.

She explained the IPAC allowed for the creation of a sustainable plan for the parent advisory council that included parent and caregiver expertise in every aspect.

According to Nelson, the parent advisory council will offer many benefits to its members.

“Parents will grow their knowledge of resources and how to advocate for themselves, their families and communities. They will refine leadership skills and learn from some of the wisest people in the field. They will also build their support and peer-to-peer system with parents from all over the state, giving them more resources to help them through their parenting/caregiving journey,” said Nelson.

Learn more about the parent advisory council.