Our Mission is to provide leadership in the field of children's mental health in order to address the unique needs of children and youth with emotional, behavioral or mental disorders. We support the rights of full citizenship, support and access to service based in our community for our children and families by providing information and support to families as well as advocacy and other services needed by children and youth with emotional, behavioral or mental disorders and their families.
Who Are We Anyway?
The Denton County Federation of Families (DCFF) formed as a local chapter of the Texas Federation of Families in 2002 from a small group of local families providing informal supports to each other. We are a family run organization which means that more than 50% of our governance and all of our staff are family members who have raised or are raising children with mental, emotional or behavioral disorders. As family members who have been there we provide a unique kind of support to families facing very challenging lives. We give 1:1 support - an experienced shoulder to lean on, support groups, information and referral; assistance with appropriate accommodations within IDEA in schools; and family voice with local providers and state legislators and policy makers. Most of all we maintain a focus not on what is broken about children or their families but rather on their strengths. We know from experience that if you only attend to that which is sick, it becomes sicker. We help children and families identify what they do well and support them in building upon those strengths and help them connect to natural support systems and rejoin their communities.
Our association with the Texas Federation of Families has provided deep training and support in both best practices and legislative advocacy. We have testified on legislation affecting local families and children with disabilities and advocated with individual legislators throughout the 78th and 79th Texas legislative sessions and distributed information on legislation and action alerts to local families and area stakeholders. DCFF has been a catalyst in efforts to bring Systems of Care and best practices to our county, having spearheaded the local effort culminating in the Denton County Alliance for Children and Families which continues this work. We participate in numerous state level policy committees and bring that information back to local stakeholders. We are parents of children with differences as well as professionals and members of our community. While the Denton County Federation of Families was initially started with the purpose of supporting families, children and youth with emotional, behavioral and mental disorders; as family members who have been turned away from services because our children did not carry the correct labels for funding, we do not turn families away.
Heidi is a parent of a child with mental health needs with a passion for family to family support and advocacy. She began with DCFF as an intern and stayed to lead the organization!
DCFF Family Partner
Earlene joins the Federation of Families serving as our Family Partner. She has worked with many child-serving agencies; including, Lutheran Social Services and Child Protective Services. Mrs. Chapman has raised two children to adulthood, fostered 55 children, and adopted 5, all with special needs. Earlene brings extensive knowledge with the ARD/504 process, Wraparound, and community resources to our team. Her passion, commitment to children, and dedication to working with families is a benefit to both the Federation, and our community.
Joel Bessire, Mr. B's Bookkeeping and Tax Service
Joel does so much for us it is hard to adequately express our appreciation for his dedication to our kids and families!
Natasha Sutton, co-chair
Eric Thompson, co-chair
Janell Shelton, secretary
Honorable Kimberly McCary
Check out pictures of our OCTOBER FUN DAY 2004!