Established as the Missouri Developmental Disability Resource Center over 26 years ago, MOF2F and continues to exist as a partnership between the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council, the UMKC Institute for Human Development (UCEDD), and the DMH Division of Developmental Disabilities in disseminating evidence-based information, peer support and opportunities for leadership. Since its beginning, the resource center has been able to expand its target audience and outreach and sustain its capacity through new and continued partnerships and initiatives and outreach and is now a part of a more comprehensive effort known as the Missouri Family to Family Network.
Almost 20 years ago, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Institute for Human Development (UMKC IHD) and the Missouri Planning Council recognized the need for individuals with disabilities, their families, and others in the field to receive family-friendly information on best-practices and disability topics. In order to meet this need, both organizations pledged both financial and administrative support to develop and implement the MODDRC. This commitment, still evident today, has enabled the MODDRC to expand from a sole purpose of providing information packets for families to a broader purpose of providing opportunities for peer support, leadership development, and volunteerism.
Beginning in June 2008, the MODDRC began expanding its focus to include specific information and support to families of children and youth with special health care needs. In collaboration with Family Voices of Missouri and the Bureau of Special Health Care Needs, the MODDRC received federal funding from the Health Research and Services Administration to develop a Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2FHIC) to ensure that families and professionals have the knowledge and skills needed to partner effectively in the care of individual children and youth with special health care needs. This grant expands the existing services of the MODDRC to reach this target audience to form the new, broader Missouri Family to Family.
Services of the new, broader-focused Center include (1) information through a Family Information Specialists and Website; (2) mentoring through the Sharing Our Strengths program; and (3) a Leadership and Volunteer Network that trains and provides opportunities for self-advocates and families to participate in system and community change activities.
The need for these services and the benefits that would transpire were confirmed by survey responses to a family questionnaire administered in November 2008.