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OUR MISSION: To empower families of children with special needs to successfully understand and access the systems that serve them.

Download our brochure (English, Español)

Download "Why do parents call Matrix?" (English, Español)

Watch: A Conversation with Stephanie Smith, Director of Parent Services


Matrix in the beginning...
In 1983 three mothers gathered around a kitchen table to share the challenges, heartbreak, and frustrations of raising a child with special needs. At the time, there was no place for a family in crisis with a diagnosis to turn to for compassion, encouragement, support, or information. Forming a network of parents, they decided to educate, support, and encourage families who were facing the same challenges they had faced alone. Together, they founded Matrix Parent Network & Resource Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed to serve families of children with special needs in the North Bay.

The Matrix Philosophy...
Matrix was founded upon the belief that parents can and must be the primary managers and advocates on behalf of their child with special needs. Parent-to-parent support and networking is central to the Matrix philosophy – it is powerful, effective, and allows us to continue expanding our services in the community, particularly to populations who are historically underserved.

Matrix today….

Parent Training and Information Centers: Matrix is one of over 100 Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) nationwide, providing training and information to parents of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with all disabilities – physical, cognitive, emotional and learning. Matrix also serves as the Regional Parent Technical Assistance Center for Region 6, providing assistance to Parent Centers in nine western states and territories to ensure they have the information and training needed to provide quality services to families in their areas.

Family Empowerment Centers: Family Empowerment Centers provide family training, empowerment, and parent-professional collaborative activities in the area of educational needs for families of children with disabilities, ages 3 to 22 years old. Each center provides support and services to help families navigate the educational system and ensure that every child is receiving a free and appropriate education. Services include support groups, parent leadership training, and Special Education workshops for parents of children with disabilities who are historically underserved.

Family Resource Centers: In California, Early Start Family Resource Centers are part of the Early Start Program. Staffed by families of children with special needs, family resource centers offer parent-to-parent support and help parents, families, and children locate and use needed services; serving birth to age 36 months. They offer support services and resources in many languages, which may include newsletters, resource libraries, websites, parent-to-parent groups, sibling support groups, hotlines, and information and referral for parents and professionals.

In addition to federal and state funds, Matrix is supported by the generosity of private foundations, corporations, and individuals.

OSPE logo The contents of this website were developed in part under a grant from the US Department of Education, #H328M070011. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer, Carmen Sanchez.