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Office of Disability Employment Policy
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ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy - Driving Change Creating Opportunity

Family Involvement and Supports

Participation and involvement of parents, family members, and/or other caring adults promote the social, emotional, physical, academic and occupational growth of youth, leading them to better post-school outcomes. All youth need parents, families and other caring adults who do the following:

  • Maintain high expectations which build upon the young person's strengths, interests and needs and foster their ability to achieve independence and self-sufficiency.
  • Stay involved in their lives and assisting them toward adulthood.
  • Provide access to information about employment, further education and community resources.
  • Taken an active role in transition planning with schools and community partners.
  • Provide access to medical, professional and peer support networks.

In addition, youth with disabilities need parents, families and other caring adults who have:

  • An understanding of their youth's disability and how it affects his or her education, employment and/or daily living options
  • Knowledge of rights and responsibilities under various disability-related legislation
  • Knowledge of and access to programs, services, supports and accommodations available for young people with disabilities, and
  • An understanding of how individualized planning tools can assist youth in achieving transition goals and objectives.


  • Administration on Developmental Disabilities
    A federal agency that ensures that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of, and have access to, culturally competent services, supports, and other assistance and opportunities that promote independence, productivity, integration and inclusion in the community.
  • Children Youth and Families Education and Resource Network
    Provides research-based information from universities for youth service providers and parents of youth with disabilities.
  • Family Village
    Provides a variety of resources to people with disabilities and their families
  • National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth
    Provides links to information on providing support to young people and families.
  • PACER Center
    A parent training and information center for families of children and youth with all disabilities from birth through 21 years old. Parents can find publications, workshops, and other resources to help make decisions about education, vocational training, employment, and other services for their children with disabilities.
  • Preparing for Employment: On the Home Front
    Youth with disabilities who participate in quality work-based learning activities have more successful post-school outcomes, including employment and further education. "Preparing for Employment: On the Home Front" is an article written by PACER Center for the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition. It describes ways in which youth and their families can effectively explore work-based learning outside of school settings.
  • Technical Assistance Partnership for Family and Mental Health
    Supports communities in their efforts to successfully develop and implement local systems of care.