Family Navigator Program

Mother with her disabled son both smiling

The Center for Family Involvement is recruiting culturally and linguistically diverse parents and/or primary caregivers to volunteer as Family Navigators. Family Navigators are parents and primary caregivers who are currently supporting (or have supported) a family member with a developmental disability or special health care need. If you are interested in serving as a Family Navigator, please complete the following fields.

The CFI is housed within the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University. The Partnership is Virginia’s university center for excellence in developmental disabilities research, training and dissemination. The CFI works with families to increase their skills as decision-makers, mentors and leaders so that family members and others with disabilities can lead the lives they want. The CFI and the Partnership believe that families are best served by other families, especially those with similar experiences and challenges.

CFI also believes that families are the experts on their own children and can pass this expertise on to others. To promote this belief and practice, the CFI operates the Family to Family Network of Virginia, consisting of local Network hubs in seven (and growing) regions in Virginia. To support this work, the CFI is recruiting and training culturally and linguistically diverse parents, grandparents, siblings, and self-advocates as Family Navigators.

Through the efforts of part-time Local Network Coordinators, Cultural Brokers as needed, and a handful of volunteer culturally and linguistically diverse Family Navigators, family members of individuals with disabilities (from birth-50) receive emotional, informational and systems navigational support. This includes helping families identify and obtain information, resources, services and community supports, as well as providing assistance with using disability services and systems. Family Navigators may also serve as family leaders in effecting public policy and systems change in their locality.

Essential functions of a Family Navigator

  • Receive name of family asking for assistance from the Regional F2F Network Coordinator; contact the family within 48 hours
  • Provide emotional support, information and referral advice, and link the family to community support and service
  • Volunteer approximately five hours per month, (e.g., assisting families, attending trainings and meetings as needed)
  • Follow up with referred family to provide additional supports; provide Regional F2F Network Coordinator with updated information as needed
  • Help families as they prepare for service planning meetings (e.g., IEPs, Medicaid waiver, employment and/or aging services)
  • Share resources with the Regional F2F Network Coordinator, contributing to the Center for Family Involvement’s resource listings
  • Attend regular meetings held by the Regional F2F Network Coordinator for informal trainings, teambuilding and support (stipends available)
  • Serve on a regional Individual & Family Support Council
  • Participate in job-related trainings and agree to attend one formal training per year (stipends available)
  • Maintain ongoing contact with the Regional F2F Network Coordinator regarding workload, professional development and any issues that may arise


Be a parent or caregiver (grandparent, sibling) of a child/adult with disabilities or special health care needs OR  Be an adult with disabilities 

  • Live in Virginia
  • Have a good working knowledge of local resources, services, disability service delivery system, regional culture, etc.
  • Have strong interpersonal and communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Possess good skills in developing relationships, being culturally collaborative, and connecting with others
  • Be collaborative, self-directed, self-motivated, organized and able to multitask
  • Have flexibility with their schedule
  • Have basic computer skills (helpful)


The Family to Family Network of Virginia Family Navigator agrees to volunteer approximately five hours per month. Stipends are available for trainings and other work-related activities as decided by the F2F Network Coordinator and/or the Principle Investigator for the Center for Family Involvement.

For the two requested reference letters, attach them to your on-line application or email them separately to Nickie Brandenburger at


Family Navigator Application


Apply Today graphic



aplica ahora

Accessible text for the graphic above -  Aplica Ahora: Family Navigator Application in Spanish.

Usted o algun miembro de su familia tience una discapacidad

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Do you or a family member have a disability?Family Navigator brochure