Caregiver Education and Support

Children’s of Alabama understands the challenges experienced by caregivers of children with mental and behavioral health conditions. That is why we offer innovative programs to support caregivers and help them meet and cope with their child's mental health needs.    Some of these programs are offered exclusively to the caregivers of children currently receiving inpatient or outpatient services, and some are offered more broadly to include members of the community.

CARES (Caregiver Advocacy, Resources, Education & Support) Program

Here at Children's Behavioral Health, we want to provide caregivers with the information, resources, and support they need to understand and cope with their child's challenges. We believe that mental health treatment outcomes are drastically improved when caregivers are active participants in the treatment process. Therefore, we consider caregivers to be an important member of the treatment team.

Our CARES Program goals are very simple and effective:

  • We educate caregivers, providing critical and helpful information about your child’s treatment.
  • We equip caregivers, teaching skills and tools to effectively help with the care of your child.
  • We empower caregivers, connecting you with resources and services to continue to help you and your child.

We are eager to be your partner in helping your child to be happy, healthy, confident, and successful.

If you have questions about the CARES Program, email or call 205-638-9812.

There are three components of our CARES Program:

  1. CARES Inpatient Classes:

We offer two CARES Inpatient Classes designed to facilitate your involvement in your child’s inpatient treatment:

  • Expectations Class – Provides information to help you understand and manage expectations related to your child’s treatment.
  • Safety Class – Provides information about how to make your home environment safer for your child’s return after discharge.

Both classes are offered at several times throughout the week. The Family Care Coordinator will contact you the day after your child’s admission to the hospital to schedule these classes.

  1. CARES Support Group

Our weekly CARES Support Group is a safe space for you as a caregiver to share your experiences, emotions, successes and concerns related to caring for a child with mental or behavioral health condition.  Our hope is that this group will:

  • Offer you the opportunity to hear and learn from other caregivers who are having a similar experience.
  • Reduce the isolation you might be feeling.
  • Provide you with a layer of support and encouragement.

This group is open to any caregiver of a child who is or has been a patient on the inpatient unit.

When: Every Thursday, 4:00-5:00 p.m. 

Where: Children's of Alabama, Lowder Building on the 3rd Floor, Cain Conference Room. (*Please enter through the McWane Building (7th Avenue Entrance), and stop at the information desk for directions.)


These educational sessions allow caregivers and community members to hear from experts and community resources about topics related to caring for children with various emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs. 

CARES Talks are held four Thursdays per year from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Children's of Alabama.

To find the latest information and schedule go to CARES Talks (PDF).

To register for one of the CARE Talks, please visit

In addition to what is offered through our CARES program, we also offer two parent education and support groups aimed at addressing specific behavioral health concerns:

PAGES (Parent and Guardian Educational Support) Group

Children’s Behavioral Health – Ireland Center presents a 10 session supportive parent education group for parents of children with difficult behavior. This group meets on specified Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. The program is an evidence based parent education program which features activities to promote positive brain development in children birth to 18 years, activities to foster positive parenting, self-nurturing, family nurturing time, and home practice exercises. We address behavior symptoms such as ADHD and oppositional or defiant behavior.

This group provides an opportunity for parents or guardians to learn new attitudes and skills designed to reduce family friction while supporting one another. Certificates of completion are provided at the end of each session including a program completion certificate for successfully completing all 10 sessions.


*Refreshments served. Registration is required to ensure adequate space and materials.

PAGES Informational Flyer

Each Saturday, August 21, 2021 – October 23, 2021
10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Note: Please arrive by 9:45 am
(No session on September 4, 2021)


ACE (Autism Caregiver Empowerment) Workshops

Parenting a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder can add extra stress and obstacles that are often not recognized by others. At Children’s Behavioral Health Ireland Center (CBH-IC) located in the McWane Building, we have established parent workshops to address the unique issues of raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Workshops aim to empower caregivers by giving them knowledge to better understand their child and to teach essential skills to help care for their child’s individual needs. An action plan is developed by the caregiver in each workshop that is tailored towards their child and specific situation so they can immediately start intervention. We have found it beneficial for the families to be able to have a plan to put into place at home to help make their child more successful and improve quality of life for the whole family. We hope that as caregivers attend the different workshops, they gain the experience to be able to apply strategies they learn to new issues they may face.

The service is available to the community for any caregivers of a child or adolescent with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It also is a great supplement for families already receiving treatment at CBH-IC or in the community by helping to maximize the success for their child. It also can be helpful for families waiting for an upcoming CBH-IC appointment.

Parent workshops are offered every 1-2 months. The specific topics of each one rotates, though important, foundational topics will repeat yearly (e.g., “What is Autism?,” “Using Visual Supports,” etc.).

The Autism Caregiver Empowerment (ACE) Workshops include:

  • Important suggestions for improving a child’s daily success.
  • Ways to help caregivers learn new skills to address the individual needs of their child with autism.
  • Time for parents to collaborate in supportive groups.
  • Opportunity for caregivers to apply the provided information to their individual needs and create a unique plan for their child with autism.

For more information about upcoming workshops, go to ACE (PDF)

*Additional Information regarding Caregiver Education and Support can also be found Helpful Resources page.

Upcoming ACE Workshops and Registration

Accessing and Advocating for School Services: Help for Caregivers of Youth with Autism
Wednesday, April 7th, 9am-11am


To learn more about ACE Workshops and how to register, call (205) 638-9193 at our CBH-IC main office.

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