What Family Support Specialists Do: Examining Service Delivery

  • Jennifer P. WisdomEmail author
  • R. Eric Lewandowski
  • Michele Pollock
  • Mary Acri
  • Priscilla Shorter
  • S. Serene Olin
  • Kelsey Armusewicz
  • Sarah Horwitz
  • Kimberly E. Hoagwood
Original Paper


This study describes services provided by family support specialists (FSS), peer advocates in programs for children with serious psychiatric conditions, to delineate differences between recommended components of FSS services and services actually provided. An analysis of qualitative interview and observational data and quantitative survey data from 63 staff at 21 mental health programs in New York identified that FSS and other staff have generally similar ideas about FSS services, and that these perceptions of activities are generally congruent with what FSS actually did. Implications of findings are discussed in the context of developing competencies and quality indicators for FSS.


Family support services peer advocate Child mental health Mental health program 



This study was supported by a Grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (1R01MH085969). Dr. Wisdom completed work for this study when she was at the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer P. Wisdom
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. Eric Lewandowski
    • 2
  • Michele Pollock
    • 2
  • Mary Acri
    • 2
  • Priscilla Shorter
    • 2
  • S. Serene Olin
    • 2
  • Kelsey Armusewicz
    • 2
  • Sarah Horwitz
    • 2
  • Kimberly E. Hoagwood
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.The George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, IDEAS Center, New York University Child Study CenterNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.New York State Office of Mental HealthAlbanyUSA

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