Director Family Support

Director of Family Support & Outreach Services

Calling all families in the Bay Area who have young children with Prader-Willi syndrome. Bethany Cheney has agreed to assist us in setting up a local information and support network just for you! This might mean one-to-one support, creating a group, planning workshop sessions pertinent to your child, or just getting together to network on things that work best for your children. To get in on the ground floor and to work with Bethany to get this going, please contact her via e-mail at [email protected]
Prader-Willi-Syndrome Brochure
 (click to view and print)

Janet Atkinson is the Director of Family Support & Outreach Services in Hillsborough and Polk Counties. Her position includes the supervision of the Family Resources Specialist (FRS) unit. Janet is the proud parent of a child with special needs. Her son is Taylor. Taylor has cerebral palsy and needed help to learn to walk and to talk. He is also considered a child with “fragile health”. She knows what it is like to feel overwhelmed with problems and to be in need of the support of another parent. Janet provides the mentorship and supervisory support to the other Family Resource Specialists who work with the local Early Steps.

Each local Early Steps is required to have FRS involved in their local program. The FRS must be a family member of a child who received early intervention services or would have been eligible for early intervention services. The FRS serves as a resource for families served through the local Early Steps and serves as a community link to support family centered efforts and activities within the local Early Steps. The FRS advocates for families served by expressing the views, perspectives and needs conveyed by families. The FRS also solicits feedback from families receiving early intervention services to ensure diverse input regarding programs, policies, and the delivery of early intervention services.  The FRS also works with the Early Steps teams to provide training to providers and other parents as well as making presentations at conferences to promote awareness of supports and services available to children and families in the program.

Remember that Family Resource Specialists are first and foremost…..parents! They are very aware of the pressures and sacrifices parents go through to raise children who have special needs. They offer their services as a sounding board for parents concerns relating to their own family situations. They are not medical professionals. They may have knowledge of different medical conditions and medical terms, but they don’t evaluate, diagnose, or prescribe treatments for children. They help families and children find support.   

To contact Janet Atkinson, please call (813) 375-3980, ext. 23 or e-mail her at [email protected]