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 The Importance of Family Involvement in Title V

By Trish Thomas
Director of Diversity and Outreach, Family Voices

Leslie Carroll
IMPACT Project Director, Family Voices

Families are the core unit of our society and the constants in their children’s lives; as such, they are pivotal in making any system work – whether it is related to staying healthy, having fun, getting an education, eating healthy food, or any other activity that families do!

The system of care found within the Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB) is no different; in order to be successful, Title V must involve family members, including parents and families who are representative of culturally diverse communities, and children and youth with special health care needs, in meaningful, ongoing leading roles focused on developing culturally competent systems at all levels of policy, programs, and practice. The involvement of families is a key indicator of systems development.

Having parent/family involvement in the Title V block grant review enables Title V programs in the states to have a "hands-on" opportunity to continually improve the quality of their block grant review process. Family/parent reviewers provide culturally appropriate guidance and direction to Title V program staff, give important and detailed information on the communities and states they live in, and share how to work together to improve outreach strategies, coordination of care, access to care, communication, and strong partnerships.

Life is dynamic and always changing! Staying current with family perspectives and demographics allows Title V to be right on target with serving families and children. Knowing what works is cost effective for all involved, a time saver, and builds trust for Title V programs. Involving families is a win-win for both the families and Title V.

Trish Thomas from Family Voices has throughout the years worked with MCHB to recruit, mentor and train parents from diverse populations to review the Title V Block grants. Each year a family member is on the review team to lend their expertise in what works for families of children and youth with special health care needs and their families receiving Title V services. This work continues formally today through Project IMPACT (Improving Maternal and Child Health Programs so All Children Thrive), a cooperative agreement between Family Voices and MCHB. Family Voices works with MCHB to recruit and train parents and family representatives so that they can be successful block grant reviewers. Family Voices is creating new, updated training approaches that will allow more parents to become familiar with the block grant review process.

A webinar training will be developed in conjunction with MCHB, which will be available in the winter. Already available, a long-time popular and effective handbook called "Getting to Know Title V" is available on the Family Voices website at The handbook is a great resource for families who want to learn the basics about Title V. It describes the Title V mission, history, and services, as well as how families participate in Title V programs and policies.

Trish Thomas, Director of Diversity and Outreach and Leslie Carroll, Director of IMPACT, are available as resources and welcome your calls, questions, and input. In addition to their work with the Title V Block Grant review, Trish works across all Family Voices projects, providing information and resources, review of materials, networking with the MCHB Divisions and other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs in building partnerships, to highlight the importance of diversity and cultural and linguistic competence and Leslie focuses efforts on activities such as the IMPACT Health and Wellness Initiative, life course, and family leadership tools related to health promotion and chronic disease prevention.

Trish can be reached at or (505) 872-4774 ext. 102/(888) 835-5669 ext. 102.

Leslie can be reached at or (541) 708-5404.