Support Groups .... Are they for me?

July 31, 2018
CSC Broward Operational

By: Linda Sachs, LCSW, Community Outreach and Parent Support Specialist

So often we are dealing with life’s challenges in isolation trying the best we can to manage what is overwhelming. We may be asking ourselves to rely
on a toolbox that may not have all of the strategies, resources and support that we need to get through. Sharing what is difficult in our lives is not easy for most of us and therefore we often try to work things out quietly in isolation by ourselves. Support groups have not always had the best reputation – often conjuring up images of people sitting together complaining and in the end feeling more hopeless than when one walked in. 
When a group is well facilitated it provides an opportunity to share with others who have similar concerns, without judgement, advice-giving, or leaving feeling worse than when you walked in. Support groups can be found with a little research and honestly one would never know unless they gave it a try if this could be helpful. Parents raising children who have a developmental disability have learned that this is a long and often confusing and lonely journey. The first and hardest step is walking in. 
The uncertainty and awkwardness can be minimized by meeting the facilitator in advance and learning more about the group and the issues that are discussed. What initially feels like sitting in a room of strangers eventually can become the time of the week you most look forward to sharing with special friends. In any good support group, the facilitator is there to maintain an atmosphere of safety where parents are comfortable sharing, knowing that the group is there for everyone, not just one person and that they will be heard and helped to get their needs met. What often keeps people from joining a new group is concern that one will be forced to share before ready or that nothing positive will come of it. 
Typically, there is so much to talk about and staying on topic and having the group members share the air time is the work of a good clinician. Parents are encouraged to share from their own experiences rather than giving advice. Sometimes just being in the presence of other trusted and caring parents provides the support that is needed. What is most often heard within parent groups is: “My family and friends don’t really get it. When I come here it feels so good because I know I’m not alone and I’m learning from someone who has been there before.” As professionals we understand that parents know resources in the community better than anyone and they provide so much help to one another. 
Sharing resources and information on how to handle problems with school or with children’s behaviors becomes invaluable. However a very important additional bene t of support groups is learning as a parent that your needs and happiness are equally as important. A good support group helps parents develop a healthy balance, good self- care and coping strategies. Only then will parents have the toolbox they can access throughout their journey. 

Linda Sachs, LCSW, Community Outreach and Parent Support Specialist at # 954-315-8664 or Linda 
JAFCO is a non-pro t social service agency in existence for 25 years is proud to serve the entire community. The JAFCO Children’s Ability Center provides a continuum of services to parents raising a child with any developmental disability. Services include family support, child enrichment, respite hourly, overnight and extended care and therapy. We offer support groups for the entire family including the moms, dads, siblings
and grandparents. Groups are offered throughout the week both day and evening times.

Share this post

Learn More About CSC Broward

Accessibility Statement

Our organization provides leadership, advocacy and resources to enhance the lives of the children of Broward County and empower them to become responsible, productive adults.

Stay Connected

Find A Program That Fits Your Needs

2-1-1 Broward General Hotline | 2-1-1 Broward
2-1-1 or 954-537-0211

2-1-1 Broward, an information & referral line, provides a 24-hour, comprehensive help line and support service for individuals seeking crisis intervention assistance and/or information and referrals to health and human services in Broward County. An impressive database of information is used to provide community callers with current, relevant information regarding a wide variety of services within the community. All calls are toll-free, confidential and anonymous from anywhere in Broward County.

2-1-1 Broward Special Needs and Behavioral Health | 2-1-1 Broward
2-1-1 or 954-537-0211

The 2-1-1 Hotline is Broward’s single source for information and referrals for children with behavioral health needs and disabilities. The hotline’s specialized staff focuses on helping parents, caregivers, agencies, and medical practitioners who serve the needs of children, find programming, support and hope. A case management component is also available for families in need of assistance accessing and navigating the special needs and behavioral health system of care.

Capacity Building Mini Grants | Children's Services Council of Broward County

Infrastructure building support is provided to local child and family serving nonprofit organizations through our annual Capacity Buildings Mini Grants. Through a competitive grant process, local organizations are awarded funding for capacity building projects, professional business coaching and or fundraising support each year.
Primary POC: Adamma DuCille |

Community Builders| Children's Services Council of Broward County

Improving Lives Through Collective Impact through the Broward County Children’s Strategic Plan

Cribs for Kids | Broward Healthy Start Coalition, Inc.
954-567- 9753

In 2003, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a report that estimated that the risk of infant suffocation increases 20-fold when infants and adults sleep in the same bed. In 2005, the AAP restated that co-sleeping is a growing concern and recommended that infants not share a bed during sleep.

CSC Sponsored Trainings | Children's Services Council of Broward County

The CSC offers quality and affordable training workshops for professionals serving children and families in Broward County. Each session is led by instructors that are highly qualified and experienced in their field to provide an optimal learning environment. CEU’s are also offered for many of the completed courses. For a training calendar and to register, please visit our website at

Primary POC: Adamma DuCille |

Drowning Prevention | Florida Department of Health in Broward County

Drowning Prevention is a collaborative community effort driven by the Drowning Prevention Task Force. In 2009, the Children’s Services Council allocated funding to support a full-time coordinator housed at the Broward County Health Department who provides insight and accountability for the implementation of the Drowning Prevention Action Plan.
Task Force members create a culture throughout Broward County that infuses drowning prevention methodologies, practices, and messages throughout the community, directly impacting families with young children by:

The Faces of CSC

The impact Future Prep had on Sarah fomented her desire to give back to her community. Today, she is a Counselor for Memorial’s CSC-funded Youth Force program, helping other young people gain confidence and determine their own path for the future.
This program has touched me and made a difference in my life.
Thanks to the Children’s Services Council and the YMCA of Broward County, students have an opportunity to give a voice to issues that are important to them.