Welcome to a new blog series written by Jennifer Griffis. This series shares her personal experiences as a parent as she and her family navigate health service systems.

Originally from Texas, Jen and her family now live in a small town on the edge of the stunningly beautiful Idaho wilderness. She has been married to Danny, her college sweetheart, for 20 years. She has been given the immense blessing and challenge of mothering the “Superkids” (as they often refer to themselves): Wyatt (14), Sabrina (13), Colter (12), Monique (11), Zane (10), Laurel (7), and Boone (5).

Behavioral, emotional, and learning challenges among her children created parenting challenges and many opportunities to engage with child-serving systems. Most notably she spent three years serving as the volunteer parent representative along with a group of policy makers, attorneys, advocates, and professionals to create a framework for a new system of care with the children’s mental health program of Idaho. She continues to engage with the system transformation in Idaho by serving on workgroups and supporting the development of a statewide parent network designed to encourage parent voice within the new children’s mental health system of care. She also serves as the President of the Idaho Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health Board of Directors and is a trainer for Powerful Tools for Caregivers, an evidence-based program for parents of special needs children.

Jen is passionate about encouraging parent voice within systems and culture, raising resilient kids no matter what diagnosis or challenge they face, and most importantly, always speaking hope.

Entering the System, Part 1 of 4 (August 8, 2017)

Discharge Planning, Part 2 of 4 (August 14, 2017)

Crisis Services, Part 3 of 4 (August 18, 2017)

Advocating for the Appropriate Level of Care, Part 4 of 4 (August 22, 2017)

For questions on any post in the series, view Jen’s own Blog, comment below and/or reach out to Jennifer Griffis at