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
Regional Parent Technical Assistance Centers (regional PTACs) help Parent Centers in given regions of the country to build capacity to provide information and training to families of children with disabilities and to manage the administrative challenges of running a Parent Center. You can learn more about, and connect with, the regional PTACs here.
You can also learn about the Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center (NAPTAC) and the Center for Parent Information and Resources, both of which support the work and capacity building of all Parent Centers across the country.
- The regions at a glance
- Services and supports that regional PTACs provide
- Contact info for the Native American PTAC
- Contact info for the Center for Parent Information and Resources
- Services and supports that national PTACs provide
- Defining “technical assistance”
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
Services and Supports that Regional PTACs Provide
Services and supports for whom? | The six 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.
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
- 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.
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
Judy Wiley | lead training specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org | (541) 210-4062
Contact Information for the Center for Parent Information and Resources
Center for Parent Information and Resources | CPIR
35 Halsey Street, 4th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102
Debra Jennings | project director
(973) 642-8100, ext. 106 | (973) 517-3406 (mobile)
Elaine Mulligan | director of communication and dissemination
email@example.com | (202) 884-8355
Lisa Küpper | product development coordinator
Services and Supports that National PTACs Provide
Services and supports for whom? | The work of the two 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 two national PTACs offer? | The two 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) toincrease their knowledge and capacity in specific areas. The CPIR also works to increase the coordination of parent training efforts throughout the network.
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 regional PTACs, the CPIR, and the Native American PTAC 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 Web site 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 and the Native American 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 and the Native American 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
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.