Volunteer as a Parent Coach

There are so many emotions a parent or caregiver goes through when their child struggles with substance use, and there is often a lot of unsolicited advice and judgment as well. Because of this, addiction is often a very isolating disease, and many parents who have been through it with their own child express that what they would have wanted most at the time was to talk to a confidant and friend who understood.

What is Parent Coaching?

The purpose of Parent Coaching is to provide parents struggling with their child’s substance use compassionate support from someone who has been in their shoes.

Who is eligible to become a Parent Coach?

If you’ve been personally affected by your son or daughter’s substance use and you’re at a place where you’re ready to share your time and wisdom with other parents and families, we invite you to become a Parent Coach. You are not required nor expected to have a professional background in substance use or counseling.

How do I get started?

We provide training sessions several times a year in different locations across the country. Sessions take place over the course of two and a half days (over a weekend) and provide an intensive course in the evidence-based principles of CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) and Motivational Interviewing. Trainings are led by expert, PhD-level clinicians from our partner the Center for Motivation and Change, an experienced Parent Coach mentor and Partnership staff.

After completing one of our weekend trainings, Parent Coaches commit to volunteer for six months* during which time they provide one-on-one support over the phone to other parents currently struggling with their son or daughter’s substance use. Parent Coaches also participate in a bi-weekly conference call to discuss current cases, challenges and review key points from the training program. They gain access to extensive resources and extended training. All told, most Parent Coaches spend about 3-5 hours a week on the program.

*We absolutely welcome participation beyond the initial 6 months.

Complete our volunteer survey to get started >>

Upcoming Training Sessions

Trainings have previously taken place in:
New York, NY
Boston, MA
Los Angeles, CA
Pittsburg, PA
Chicago, IL
Houston, TX
Oklahoma City, OK
Manchester, NH
Charleston, WV
Albuquerque, NM
Memphis, TN
Nashville, TN
Knoxville, TN
Dayton, OH

Please contact madison_moore@drugfree.org if you represent a local organization interested in bringing a Parent Coach training to your community.

Parent Coaching FAQs

Will I coach people in my community?
Not necessarily. The Partnership receives requests for Parent Coaches from across the country through our Helpline. When matching parents seeking coaching with a trained Parent Coach, we try to keep them in the same time zone.

I am interested in the training, but am unable to commit to be a Parent Coach. Can I still participate?
Right now, training opportunities are only available to those individuals who can make a commitment to become a volunteer Parent Coach. When completing our survey, please note that you are unable to commit to volunteering at this time; we will notify you if additional opportunities become available.

I already volunteer in my own community. How will being a Parent Coach benefit me?
Our current Parent Coaches have repeatedly expressed that learning CRAFT and Motivational Interviewing, and then applying those skills as a Parent Coach, have helped them in their personal lives and in their work. Parent Coaches learn from some of the top clinicians in the nation and then have the opportunity to use what they’ve learned by helping families from all walks of life. Parent Coaches also learn from one another.

My child is actively using substances. Can I be a Parent Coach?
Yes. Our Parent Coaches have a wide range of experiences. Some have children in long-term recovery; some have children who are actively using substances; and some parents have lost children to addiction. Our only condition is that your commitment to Parent Coaching does not jeopardize your child’s progress toward healthy recovery.

Other Ways to Volunteer Your Time

As a parent who understands the struggle of a loved one’s addiction, you are a most invaluable resource in supporting families who need help. Here are some ways you can contribute beyond being a Parent Coach:

Be a Parent Advocate

We need your voice! We need parents who are interested in signing or sharing our petitions, calling or meeting with representatives, spreading the word on social media or traveling to Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of families.

Become a Partner for Hope

Join our community and help us empower families by sharing a story of recovery, creating a memorial or fundraising to inspire hope. The Partnership has made it even easier for you to use your passions, stories, experiences and interests to help families struggling with their son or daughter’s substance use.

Share Your Story

Many families and individuals have shared their personal stories related to drug use, treatment, recovery and loss to help unite others touched by addiction. We invite you to share your story, even if it’s just a small anecdote, to inform and give help and hope to others. It’s always your choice to keep your information private or to change your name – you can publish what you are comfortable sharing.

If you’re interested in any of the above options, please complete our volunteer survey to get in touch. And you can get started right away by joining our email list and sharing our content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thank you so much for your support.

Interested in Volunteering?

If you’re interested in volunteering to become a Parent Coach for the Partnership, or volunteering in other ways such as becoming a community advocate, creating a fundraiser or sharing your story, please complete our volunteer survey. We’ll follow up with you shortly.