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Updated: Dec 5, 2023


For Families Experiencing Mental Health or Behavior Challenges

ERIE COUNTY – Parents and caregivers of youth who are experiencing mental health or behavior challenges can now access free services from others who have personal experience raising a child facing similar challenges through Family Peer Support Services, a new a service being provided in Erie County by New Directions Youth and Family Services, in partnership with the Erie County Department of Mental Health and the NYS Office of Mental Health.

“Our team of parent professionals support parents by providing a “peer” service, meaning the service provider is someone who has lived experience raising a child with a mental health diagnosis,” says Sarah Taylor, COO for Community Programs,  “and all program staff are trained and credentialed as New York State Family Peer Advocates.”

Family Peer Support Services helps parents and caregivers learn more about their child’s diagnosis, ways to support their child, identify their own needs, and engage in self-care. The service also provides support and resources related to education, mental health services, hospital/ER care, social services, and community supports.

“Many times, parents in this situation feel very isolated while trying to care for a child with mental health or behavior challenges,” says Laura Lloyd, Program Director.

“We can help by connecting them with others in similar situations and providing strategies for engaging with family members to build natural supports. Our goal is for parents to feel empowered to be effective advocates for their child and themselves. It’s so important for them to know that they are not facing these challenges alone.”

All planning is family-driven, meaning that the goals are identified by the family and are based on their unique circumstances. Services are provided in homes, schools, and other locations that are convenient for the families, and at times when they are available. Services are provided individually and in group settings based on personal preference.

Anyone seeking more information on Family Peer Support Services, including questions on how to enroll should call (716) 486-3298,  or send an email to:

About New Directions Youth and Family Services:

New Directions Youth and Family Services provides a wide range of services throughout Western New York, including community-based prevention, health home care management, residential care, foster care and educational services at the Henrietta G. Lewis Campus School in Lockport, NY. Find out more at

New Directions is an affiliate of New View Alliance, a parent company formed in 2021 which also provides strategic planning, advocacy and shared administrative support for finance, human resources, information technology, corporate integrity and DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) services to New Directions and Gateway-Longview, Inc. Find out more at



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