Families as Partners

At Children’s Minnesota, we are looking for input from our patient families to help make the Children’s care experience better. If your child is currently a patient at a Children’s clinic or hospital, or has previously been a patient, we encourage you to get involved in the Families as Partners program. Families as Partners pathways offer diverse opportunities for involvement, including sharing your story, educating staff, providing peer-support and advocating for pediatric policy issues.

Learn more about how you can get involved in Families as Partners pathways by contacting Tessa Billman, patient- and family-centered care coordinator, at 612-813-7407 or by email.

The Families as Partners program promotes, coordinates and supports family involvement throughout Children’s through the following pathways:

Families as Partners pathways

Children's Minnesota families as partners pathways


In the Family-to-Family Program, families use their experiences to mentor, provide encouragement, emotional support and non-medical information to hospitalized patients and families in a variety of ways.

Heather and her family; Family-to-Family volunteers

“Our boys were born at 24 weeks gestation and spent the first 4 months of their life in the NICU and ICC. It was like a roller coaster ride – one day we would get good news and the next would be a day we would have to face a new obstacle. We were so thankful for the nurses and doctors for helping our twin boys. Today, they are healthy 7 year old boys who love piano, soccer and are incredibly silly.

For the past year, as a way to honor the great work Children’s does for my family and others – I have been hosting coffee breaks to connect NICU families to one another. Community is important and I love that Children’s is supportive of all families!” — Heather, Family-to-Family Volunteer

Family Advocates

Family Advocates play a role in advocating on behalf of Children’s Minnesota patients and on the behalf of the health of children. Families receive specific training and are informed of advocacy opportunities about public policy issues affecting the health of children.

Shelby and Joe had the opportunity to share their son Charlie’s story with senators and representatives in Washington, D.C. to raise the importance of Medicaid funding for kids.

“That is a level of advocating, for my child and others I never imagined getting to. What an amazing feeling it is to have someone truly listening to what you are saying, asking what they can do to help, and knowing that your story could make a difference for others.” Shelby, Family Advocate.

Mom, Shelby, and her son, Charlie.

Family Advisors

Family Advisors are designated family representatives involved in committees, design teams, unit advisory councils, experience teams, policy groups, family panels, family focus groups and family testimonial events.

Jody and family; Families as partners Family Advisors

“Participating on the Cystic Fibrosis Family Council (CFFC) has been a great opportunity as a parent to partner with my daughter’s care team to enhance our life experiences as well as experiences for other patients and families living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). In an effort to support these families, the team developed a brochure, ‘Traveling with CF’, to help families prepare for and enjoy traveling.” — Jody, Cystic Fibrosis Family Council

Families as Faculty

Participate in sessions that provide patient- and family-centered care education for physicians, nurses and staff.

Family Speakers Bureau

Share your family’s story at special events and meetings.

The Family Advisory Council

The Family Advisory Council is a diverse group of families who collaborate with Children’s Minnesota staff to enhance the patient and family experience. FAC represents all Children’s Minnesota families. Learn more about the Family Advisory Council.  

The Youth Advisory Council

The Youth Advisory Council is a dedicated group of patients, ages 10 to 18, offering practical ideas on how to help Children’s focus even more closely on the special needs of children and teens. They eagerly voice their ideas and perspectives — from choices of food on the hospital menu to how they want adults at Children’s to relate to them. Learn more about the Youth Advisory Council.  


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