Our Mission

Our Mission

Family Voices of North Dakota (FVND) aims to achieve family-centered care for all children and youth with special health care needs and/or disabilities.
Through our national network, Family Voices provides families tools to make informed decisions, advocates for improved public and private policies, builds partnerships among professionals and families, and serves as a trusted resource on health care.

Our Vision

Every child and youth with special needs receives family-centered care.

Our History

Family Voice of North Dakota (FVND) has been assisting families of  Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) since 1997, when Executive Director Donene Feist, a mother of a young child with hearing impairment, recognized the need for family assistance in navigating health care systems.

With grants from Family Voices National, Children Special Health Services (CSHS), then at the ND Department of Human Services and private donations, FVND became established as a resource for families and professionals.
In 2000, FVND became a 501(c3).

Currently FVND is funded by annual grants from the US Department of Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Project #1 H84MC07992-01-00), the North Dakota Department of  Health  (Title V, Children’s Special Services), North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, and Parent to Parent Project by ND State Council on Developmental Disabilities.

With these funds we employ our Director full-time, and our Parent-to-Parent Coordinator and 6 Family Consultants with hours varying from 4 hours per week to 28 hours per week. Altogether our staff are able to serve over 4000 families and the professionals that serve them statewide.

Our Principles

Family-centered care. Because families are at the center of a child’s life, they must be equal partners in decision-making and all aspects of the child’s care. Family-centered care is community-based, coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent, and guided by what is best for each child and family.

Partnerships. Family-centered care is based upon strong and effective family- relationships built within the context of families’ and professionals’ cultural values and practices to improve decision-making, enhance outcomes, and assure quality.

Quality, access, affordability and acceptability. Children with special needs deserve primary and specialty health care that is of high quality, affordable, within geographic reach and respectful of family and community culture.

Health systems that work for families and children. Health policies and systems built on a foundation of family-centered, culturally and linguistically competent care must be the standard for all children.

Informed families/strong communities. Like their peers, children with special needs deserve every opportunity to enjoy a happy and healthy childhood at home in their communities. Families equipped with reliable, accurate information about ways to support their child’s health, education and social development will help them grow into productive adults as defined by their personal, family and community cultural beliefs and values.

Self-advocacy/empowerment. When informed and supported, young people with disabilities can make choices and advocate for themselves.