Frequently Asked Questions
What is the H.E.A.R.T.S. Connection Family Resource Center?
The H.E.A.R.T.S. Connection Family Resource Center is staffed by parents and family members of children with disabilities and/or special health care needs. Staff in the Family Resource Center provide families with parent to parent support, advocacy, training and assistance, resource coordination and information. Family Resource Center staff are also available for consultation and training for professionals who serve families with children who have special needs.
What will happen when I call the H.E.A.R.T.S. Connection Family Resource Center?
If you call the Bakersfield office weekdays between the hours of 9:30-4:00, you will probably be put through to one of our Family Resource Specialist. She will help you identify your needs and assist you with locating needed resources, support groups, trainings and/or advocacy assistance. If you call after hours, your call should be returned within 48 hours by a Family Resource Specialist.
How can I get information on local resources to help my child?
The staff in the Family Resource Center can help you to locate local resources that may benefit your child and family. We are also linked with statewide resource organizations.
What can I expect in a support group?
The Family Resource Center offers a support group for family members of children with disabilities or special health care needs. Each group is facilitated by a trained support group facilitator. Group time is a relaxed time for networking, support and sharing of the unique experience and lifestyle when families are caring for children with special needs. Guest speakers are often scheduled to present during support group meetings. Groups are held at varying times during the month in English and Spanish.
What kinds of support groups are available?
While there are some distinction to some of the groups, the majority of support groups are generic in their representation of disability. The reason for this is that we have found that although the disability may be different, the emotions experienced by families are similar. However, we do have a group which targets parents of children birth to 36 months. There is a group for parents of children with Autism, Down Syndrome and a support group for age 0-5.
Where are support groups held?
H.E.A.R.T.S. Connection holds support groups at a variety of locations in Kern County (Bakersfield, Delano, Lake Isabella, California City, Ridgecrest, Tehachapi).
Can I have a "Resource Specialist" attend my child's IEP with me?
We recommend that you schedule an appointment at an IEP Clinic prior to your child's next IEP. The IEP team will review your concerns and dreams for your child and assist you in taking an active role as a full member of your child's IEP team. If it is determined after the IEP Clinic, that the assistance of an advocate or Resource Specialist at your IEP would be beneficial, arrangements will be made. However, most parents report feeling very confident and capable of attending their IEP after their IEP Clinic experience.
What is an IEP Clinic?
An IEP Clinic is a time for you to sit down with a Resource Specialist and/or advocate to discuss your child's rights to a free and appropriate public education, your concerns regarding your child's educational plan and your (and your child's) dreams for the future. IEP Clinics are held once a month in Bakersfield.
What is the difference between an IEP Clinic and IEP Training?
An IEP Clinic is a time scheduled between the family and the Resource Specialist for individual assistance to prepare for the child's IEP. The IEP Training is offered frequently and presents on current law governing special education services. We recommend that parents attend an IEP training once a year.
I don't live in Kern County. Are there any services available for me?
Absolutely! Staff may also help you to locate local resources in your area.
What trainings are available?
Trainings are available for parents and professionals on a variety of topics including: "IFSP Training", "IEP Training", "Adult Transition Training", "Parent Leadership Training", "ADD/ADHD" and other topics.
Where can I get more information on my child's disability?
The FRC at H.E.A.R.T.S. Connection maintains libraries in Bakersfield, California City, Delano, Lake Isabella, Ridgecrest and Tehachapi, with up to date books, videos and magazines for the public to check out on a wide variety of disabilities. To access the library all you need to do is stop by during hours of operation and complete a check out form. In addition, Disability Specific Information Packets are available at no cost. A computer is available in the library for individuals to search the Internet for additional information.