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. Looking back, many parents who have been through the journey of a child’s addiction express that what they would have wanted most was to talk to a confidant and friend who understood.

Parent coaching provides parents with compassionate support from someone who has been in their shoes.

Read more about how parent coaching started and why we are renaming our coaching program – the Hedrick Parent Coaching Program.

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Parent coaches discuss what volunteering means to them

There is nothing quite like speaking to someone else who has been in your situation. Our parent coaching program pairs those seeking additional guidance and support with a trained parent volunteer who has also traveled the path of dealing with a child’s substance use.

Who is eligible?

If you have been personally affected by your child’s substance use and you are 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 or expected to have a professional background in addressing substance use or counseling.

How to get started

We provide training sessions several times a year through our partnerships with different organizations across the country. Sessions take place either via Zoom, over the course of six weeks, or in person, over the course of two and a half days in collaboration with our partners at the CMC: Foundation for Change (CMC:FFC). They include an intensive course in the evidence-based principles of CMC:FFC’s Invitation to Change Approach, a unique mix of Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), Motivational Interviewing and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

After completing the initial training session, parent coaches commit to volunteering for six months* during which time they provide one-on-one support over the phone to other parents whose child is currently struggling with substance use or addiction. Parent coaches are also expected to participate in a weekly or bi-weekly video call to discuss current cases and challenges and to 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 six months.

Upcoming training sessions

Training is currently taking place virtually due to COVID-19. Interested volunteers will receive more details once we’ve received your information. We look forward to offering local in-person training once again when it is safe to do so.

Previously, trainings have taken place in:
Knoxville, TN
New Bedford, MA
Tampa, FL
Baltimore, MD
Phoenix, AZ
Los Angeles, CA
Chicago, IL
Boston, MA
Manchester, NH
Toms River, NJ
West Orange, NJ
Albuquerque, NM
New York, NY
Cincinnati, OH
Dayton, OH
Oklahoma City, OK
Harrisburg, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Knoxville, TN
Memphis, TN
Nashville, TN
Houston, TX
Salt Lake City, UT
Charleston, WV

If you represent a local organization interested in bringing a parent coach training to your community, learn more about hosting a training .

Frequently asked questions

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 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, has 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 a healthy recovery.