WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) a Senior Member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy joined the Committee’s Chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in introducing the Supporting Family-to-Family Health Information Centers Act. This legislation would continue federal financial support for these centers through Fiscal Year 2024.

Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, this program supports family-staffed organizations in each state to assist families of children with disabilities or special health care needs. Last year, Congress provided additional funding to support the development of centers in the territories and at least one center for Indian tribes.

"The Family-to-Family Health Information Resource Centers offer invaluable assistance, helping families with children who face complex challenges access services and supports they need,” said Senator Menendez. “I’m proud to work in a bipartisan way to secure a five-year reauthorization of this important program that will help the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network continue to support thousands more families with special needs children across New Jersey.”

“Family to Family Health Information Centers provide families of children with special healthcare needs (CYSHCN) help and support that improves their lives and the lives of their children,” said Diana Autin, Executive Co-Director of the SPAN Parent Advocacy Network, New Jersey’s F2F HIC. “Without the support of the F2Fs, their ability to be effective partners in their children's healthcare would be greatly diminished. F2Fs help families find their voice and the confidence to use that voice at critical times in their children’s lives. The F2F staff are also parents, so they understand what parents are going through and the information and skills they need to support and advocate for their children. Because of that assistance, CYSHCN around the country have greater access to early and continuous screening to identify their needs, a medical home to coordinate needed care, community-based services that are easier to use, adequate healthcare financing, and stronger family-professional partnerships, leading to transition to improved adult life outcomes including a more meaningful and inclusive life. The F2F funding serves as a foundation for these supports in every state and territory.”

The Family-to-Family Information Center program was established in 2006. Funding for this program supports family-staffed and family-run centers that provide information, education, technical assistance and peer support to families of children with special health care needs and health professionals who serve such families. In addition, the centers help ensure that families and health professionals are partners in decision making at all levels of care and service delivery.

The text of the bill can be downloaded here.