Parent Technical Assistance Centers

Map of the US showing the service regions of the PTAC networkApril 2015
Regional map, courtesy of the Native American PTAC

 

There are 6 Regional Parent Technical Assistance Centers (also called regional PTACs or RPTACs), one for each region of the country. The PTACs help the Parent Centers in their regions build capacity to provide information and training to families of children with disabilities and to manage the administrative challenges of running a Parent Center.

There are also 3 National Parent Technical Assistance Centers: the Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center (NAPTAC); the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR); and the Branch Military Parent Technical Assistance Center (MPTAC). The 3 national centers are designed to support the work and capacity building of all Parent Centers across the country, not just Parent Centers in a given region.

This page concludes with a discussion of why technical assistance to Parent Centers is important and provides a definition of the term “technical assistance.”

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The Regions at a Glance

Each regional PTAC serves the Parent Centers in a specific region of the country, as follows:

Region 1 |   CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, and VT

Region 2 |  DC, DE, KY, MD, NC, SC, TN, VA, and WV

Region 3 |  AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, OK, Puerto Rico, TX, and U.S. Virgin Islands

Region 4 |  IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, OH, and WI

Region 5  |  AZ, CO, KS, MT, NE, ND, NM, SD, UT, and WY

Region 6 | AK, CA, HI, ID, NV, OR, WA, the outlying areas of the Pacific Basin, and the Freely Associated States*

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Services and Supports that Regional PTACs Provide

Services and supports for whom? | The 6 regional PTACs are funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education and have a clear mission: to serve as a resource and technical assistance provider to OSEP’s funded network of Parent Centers.

By “Parent Centers,” we are referring to the nearly 100 Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) and Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs). These centers, in their own turn, work with families that have a child with a disability. They help parents to participate effectively in the education of their children at school and at home, thereby improving outcomes for children with disabilities. You can find the Parent Center that serves your state by visiting our Find Your Parent Center page.

What services and supports do the regional PTACs provide to the Parent Centers in their region?  |  A wide variety! All, for example, provide the centers in their region with services such as:

  • help with needs assessment
  • site visits
  • regional meetings
  • non-profit management tools
  • one-to-one consultations and TA
  • newsletters
  • training/webinars
  • board training and TA
  • peer-to-peer mentoring
  • TA on technology

Each regional PTAC also has needs unique to its region and the realities of the Parent Centers to be served. As a result, PTACs often offer services and technical assistance unique to their regions.

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Services and Supports that the National PTACs Provide

Services and supports for whom? | The work of the 3 national PTACs isn’t tied to a specific region of the country. Rather, they are a resource for all PTIs and CPRCs across the States and territories.

What type of services and supports do the national PTACs offer? | The 3 centers differ in how they provide Parent Centers with assistance, resources, materials, and technical assistance. Here’s a quick summary:

The National Native American PTAC | NAPTAC provides Parent Centers with the full array of technical assistance (i.e., universal TA, targeted TA, and intensive TA), as described in the next section. The center focuses on providing universal TA to Parent Centers to build their capacity to provide effective and culturally appropriate services to Native American parents of children with disabilities and Native American youth with disabilities. The NAPTAC  also provides differentiated, targeted, and intensive TA to Parent Centers requesting additional support to build their capacity.

Center for Parent Information and Resources | You’re currently on the CPIR’s website! The mission of the CPIR is to develop or adapt products for the Parent Center network to use in serving families of children with disabilities. The CPIR also provides Parent Centers with universal TA (as described below) to increase their knowledge and capacity in specific areas. The CPIR also works to increase the coordination of parent training efforts throughout the network.

The Branch Military PTAC | The MPTAC, also known as the Branch, is new as of March 2015. It’s available to help Parent Centers increase their visibility with, and support for, military families within their communities. Its website includes a map with links to military installations in the United States and territories. The Branch has designated staff who serve as primary contacts for Parent Centers seeking technical assistance and information on addressing the needs of military families of children with disabilities in the area. Resources in the Branch’s library include one-pagers organized by  topic areas, such as military courtesies, the Exceptional Family Member Program, TRICARE (military insurance), and much more. The Branch plans a quarterly e-newsletter that will include information from Parent Centers, military subject matter experts, and resources.

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Contact Information for the Native American PTAC

Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center
Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs (EPICS)
1600 San Pedro Dr. SE
Albuquerque, NM 87110
(888) 499-2070 (toll-free) |  (505) 767-6630
www.naptac.org

Judy Wiley | lead training specialist
judy@epicsnm.org | (541) 210-4062

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Contact Information for the Center for Parent Information and Resources

Center for Parent Information and Resources | CPIR
c/o SPAN
35 Halsey Street, 4th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102
myriam@parentcenterhub.org
http://www.parentcenterhub.org

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Contact Information for the Branch Military PTAC

Branch Military PTAC
c/o PAVE
6316 12th St
Tacoma, WA 98465
(253) 565-2266; (800) 572-7368
thebranch@wapave.org
https://branchta.org/
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Why is technical assistance to Parent Centers important?

Technical assistance (TA) is critical because today’s Parent Centers are:

  • providing information and support on a complex set of laws and on ever-evolving research and evidence-based best practices;
  • supporting an increasingly diverse population of families and youth with a wide range of needs and concerns;
  • partnering with an expanding list of national, State, and local agencies and professionals; and
  • operating effective, high-quality, high-impact, and innovative non-profits in environments of reduced funding and higher expectations.1

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Defining “Technical Assistance”

OSEP recently provided its funded network of projects with working definitions of key terms related to TA, so that projects would be clear about what types of assistance they might offer or expect. Relevant to both Parent Centers and regional PTACs are OSEP’s definitions of three terms in particular: universal TA, targeted TA, and intensive TA.

What’s “universal TA”? | The 6 regional PTACs and the 3 national PTACs may offer Parent Centers “universal TA,” which OSEP describes as “TA and information provided to independent users through their own initiative, resulting in minimal interaction with TA center staff. This category of TA includes information or products, such as newsletters, guidebooks, or research syntheses, downloaded from the PTAC’s website by independent users. Brief communications by PTAC staff with recipients, either by telephone or email, are also considered universal, general TA.”2

What’s “targeted TA”? | The regional PTACs, the Native American PTAC, and the Branch Military PTAC may also provide Parent Centers with “targeted TA,” described by OSEP as “TA services developed based on needs common to multiple recipients and not extensively individualized. A relationship is established between the TA recipient and one or more TA center staff. This category of TA can be one-time, labor-intensive events, such as facilitating strategic planning or hosting regional or national meetings. TA can also be episodic, less labor-intensive events that extend over a period of time, such as facilitating a series of conference calls on single or multiple topics that are designed around the needs of the recipients. Facilitating communities of practice can also be considered targeted, specialized TA.”3

What’s “intensive TA”? | And last but not least, “intensive TA” may be provided to Parent Centers by the regional PTACs, the Native American PTAC, and the Branch Military PTAC. “Intensive TA” is described by OSEP as “TA services often provided on-site and requiring a stable, ongoing, negotiated relationship between the TA center staff and the TA recipient. The TA relationship is defined as a purposeful, planned series of activities designed to reach an outcome that is valued by the individual recipient. This category of TA results in changes to policy, program, practice, or operations that support increased recipient capacity or improved outcomes at one or more levels.”4

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References

* What are the outlying areas of the Pacific Basin and the Freely Associated States? | The United States has special relations with 3 jurisdictions in the Pacific Basin (American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands) and 2 jurisdictions in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The United States also has special relations with 3 independent nations in the Pacific Basic, which are often referred to as the “Freely Associated States.” These 3 nations are the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Federated States of Micronesia (comprised of Yap, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Kosrae). The territories and outlying areas of the Pacific Basin are served by the Region 6 PTAC. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are served by the Region 3 PTAC.

1 |  From the presentation “Regional Parent Technical Assistance Centers” prepared for the Parent Technical Assistance Centers kick-off meeting held at OSEP in Washington, DC, November 4, 2013.

2 |  Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education. (2013, January 3). Applications for new awards; training and information for parents of children with disabilities—Technical assistance for parent centers. Federal Register, 78(106), 33078-33090. Quote from page 33079.

3 | Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education. (2013, January 3). Applications for new awards; training and information for parents of children with disabilities—Technical assistance for parent centers. Federal Register, 78(106), 33078-33090. Quote from page 33079.

4 | Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education. (2013, January 3). Applications for new awards; training and information for parents of children with disabilities—Technical assistance for parent centers. Federal Register, 78(106), 33078-33090. Quote from page 33079.

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