Parents as Stakeholders

Parents as Stakeholders – Parents as Leaders

As parents we make many decisions for our families and children every day from what to eat for breakfast to structuring bedtime rituals and everything in-between.  There are also the bigger decisions we are faced with such as finding a pediatrician, finding child care, and how best to support our children’s learning in school to name a few.

Having a child with special needs and/or health care needs exposes us to the disability world, to special education, to the medical world and possibly an entire host of governmental systems and agency programs we might have never realized existed before.

We quickly become experts at finding resources and navigating systems. Such exposure can lead to involvement.

As parents we have a voice to share and an important story to tell.  Our experiences are valuable and can be used to change and improve lives for the better.  As such we are natural stakeholders for many different systems and programs and that can offer a path to become Parent Leaders.

What is Parent Leadership?

Meaningful Parent leadership occurs when parents gain the knowledge and skills to function in meaningful leadership roles and represent a ‘parent voice’ to help shape the direction of their families, programs and communities.  Parent Leadership is successfully achieved when parents and professionals build effective partnerships and share responsibility, expertise and leadership in decisions being made that affect families and communities. The parents involved in these collaborations are called Parent Leaders.

Throughout the country, parents and professionals are working together in new ways.  They are participating jointly in local, regional and national planning processes, collaborating as grant reviewers and program evaluators, and serving on advisory boards and coalitions.  Working together, the voices of parents and professionals are shaping policy and practice to make a positive difference in the lives of children and families.

How can I become a Parent Leader?

There are many ways you can be involved in providing the parent voice and be a needed stakeholder in various agencies and programs across the state.  Below is a quick reference to the opportunities to participate.  Areas listed include:

  • early childhood
  • school aged
  • transition age (16+)
  • medical/health
  • mental health
  • Nebraska Boards and Commissions
  • Boards of Organizations
  • National Organizations

You can access a listing and description of specific committees and groups in Nebraska here:  (Click Here)

Trainings for Parent Leaders

Nebraska Trainings: 

PTI Nebraska offers a variety of different trainings to assist parents in their role as the voice for their child and for roles as being a voice for all children.  The following are some of the free workshops offered to parents interested in developing skills to being a stakeholder in a variety of settings.

  • Telling Your Family Story
  • It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It
  • Parental Advocacy 101
  • ABCs of Parent Leadership
  • Parents as Stakeholders (coming soon)

National/On-Line Trainings:

Partners in Policymaking:  The goal of Partners in Policymaking is to educate participants to be active partners with those who make policy. Free courses are available in five areas 1) Living, 2) Time, 3) Education, 4) Making your case and 5) Employment.  For more information go to:


  • Interested in being a parent stakeholder/leader?
  • Interested in PTI trainings?
  • Would you like to discuss having your agency/group be added to the list for parent stakeholders?
  • Other comments/questions?

Contact Connie Shockley at PTI Nebraska at 402-403-3911 or email at