Congressman Brian Higgins

Representing the 26th District of NEW YORK

$500,000 Awarded to Parent Network of WNY for Program Aimed At Expanding Learning & Outcomes for Buffalo School Students with Disabilities

Sep 1, 2016
Press Release
Grant, Announced by Congressman Higgins, is 1 of just 30 Nationwide

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) joined representatives from the Parent Network of WNY and Buffalo School District to announce a $500,000 federal grant awarded through the United States Department of Education aimed at expanding learning and outcomes for Buffalo School Students with disabilities. 

“The Parent Network of WNY provides crucial services to parents and families who aren’t sure where to turn, how to navigate through the services available and how to advocate for the best interests of their children,” said Congressman Higgins.  “This award provides valuable support and relief to families already carrying a great deal on their shoulders.”   

Susan Barlow, Executive Director of Parent Network of WNY said, “Our goal is to reach all the families who have children with disabilities in the Buffalo community and we work hard to have a relationship with families along with parent leaders, school administration and educators. This grant mirrors the community school model, which is the current direction of the Buffalo School System.”

Buffalo Public School Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash added, "This is a tremendous example of an effective community partner stepping up to assist us with services for our neediest children and families.  Parent Network of Western New York has a long history of supporting our families.  On behalf of the Buffalo Public Schools, we are grateful to Congressman Brian Higgins and the Parent Network for this generous grant opportunity that will deliver enhanced parental supports and translation and sharing of critical information through our new Strong Community Schools model."

The federal funding is one of only 30 grants awarded nationwide through the Department of Education’s Community Parent Resource Centers Program.  Parent Network of WNY was selected to receive $100,000 annually for the next five years. 

The program will focus on increasing the capacity for parents of children with disabilities to help advance early learning, improve school-aged and post-secondary outcomes as well as providing the tools for effective self-advocacy.  Through coordination with the Buffalo Public Schools, Parent Network of WNY, through one-on-one support and workshops, will work to cultivate a community among providers, parents, educators and community representatives that leads to a shared vision and more effective voice for children with disabilities from birth to age 26.  More than 350 families will be served. 

Parent Network of WNY is a community resource for families of individuals with special needs and for professionals who work with these families.  Parent Network provides parents and caregivers of children with special needs, the tools necessary to allow them to take an active role in their child's educational and personal growth.  The organization also provides a wide variety of workshops and seminars and offers all of these services free of charge.  For more information on the Parent Network of WNY call (716) 332-4170 or visit http://www.parentnetworkwny.org.

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