Through parent-to-parent sharing of experiences and knowledge, G.E.A.R. Parent Network empowers parents of children with behavioral health needs to build on their family’s strengths and to advocate for their family’s needs.

G.E.A.R. provides an opportunity for parents to support each other and work together, family to family. We empower parents by helping them build on the identified strengths in their families and by providing safe and supportive avenues for emotional support and problem solving.

G.E.A.R. believes in a family-driven system of care that helps children, youth and families function better at home, in school, in the community and throughout life. We want you to know that you are not alone.

If you are a parent of a child with emotional/behavioral concerns, you are aware that there is much to learn and to manage on behalf of your child and your entire family. The G.E.A.R. Parent Network is here to help.

Our History

The G.E.A.R. Parent Network was started by Charlene Milliken, a parent and foster parent who recognized the need for positive help and support for parents coping with the demands of caring for children with special needs. The G.E.A.R. Parent Network began in 1987 with a membership of just one: Charlene Milliken.

What began as a parent support group in a small, spare room at the Elizabeth Levinson Center in Bangor has blossomed across the state, drawing countless parents together. Her then 12-year-old daughter was acting out and running away, and Charlene didn’t know what to do. Unable to get the support she needed from schools, law enforcement or other professionals, Charlene did the only thing she knew how to do: she fought back.

Our Mission Statement:

As a family driven, totally parent-run organization our primary mission is to empower parents and caregivers of children and youth who have emotional and behavioral health needs to affect their own life decisions through sharing our lived experiences and knowledge, promoting hope and self-reliance with no shame, no blame and no judgment.



Our Values:

  • Community-based, family-focused, culturally competent systems of care.
  • Full family and child participation in planning and delivery of services.
  • A family-friendly system of accountability based on positive outcomes.
  • We value our partners in advocacy.
  • We value the expertise a family offers.
  • The opportunity to collaborate.
  • Professional research and public education.
  • The opportunity to make a difference for families and children by improving their quality of life.

Administrative Offices

10 Caldwell Road
Augusta, Maine 04330

Crisis and Counseling Centers

visit crisisandcounseling.org

Proud member of the National Federation of Families