Advocating for Families
Caseworkers advocate for services for individual families and help families learn to advocate for themselves and negotiate with service systems to obtain needed help. Caseworkers can also play a prominent role in empowering and advocating for families to become interdependent members of the community. Family advocacy focuses on the principles of family development, communication skills for workers, and promoting the participation of community residents and families in the design of services.
The following resources address ways to advocate for families and include State and local examples.
The "Accidental" Advocate: Wearing Two Hats as Researcher and Advocate to Reach Young Children (PDF - 37 KB)
ZERO TO THREE Policy Center
Explores an advocacy tool that explains how to conduct action-oriented research by being both a respected researcher and an effective advocate for young children and their communities.
Adding it Up: A Rationale for Mapping Public Resources for Children, Youth and Families (PDF - 1,638 KB)
Flynn-Khan, Ferber, Gaines, & Pittman (2006)
The Forum for Youth Investment & The Finance Project
Provides decision makers and community leaders with a guide to understanding the importance of developing a resource map for children, youth, and families and the types of information that can be incorporated into the map.
Advocating for Children in Foster and Kinship Care: A Guide to Getting the Best Out of the System for Foster Parents, Relative Caregivers, and Practitioners
Rosenwald & Riley (2010)
Offers strategies for effectively advocating for youth in foster and kinship care, paying special attention to the consequences of the trauma youth may experience. The guide teaches practitioners the best methods for assessing a family's abilities and level of commitment while guiding families through the various challenges of the foster care system.
Advocating for Post-Adoption Support: Tools to Promote Parent-Led and Child-Driven Services (PDF - 1,382 KB)
North American Council on Adoptable Children (2010)
Provides an advocacy toolkit to help adoptive and guardianship parents, adoption professionals, community providers, legislators, and others work toward establishing effective, equitable, and universal postpermanency support programs.
Connecting With Infant-Toddler Professionals to Advocate for Young Children and Their Families (PDF - 78 KB)
ZERO TO THREE (2009)
Explores how engaging other early childhood professionals in advocacy can be an effective strategy for policy change and provides practical tools and examples.
The Customer Satisfaction Project (PDF - 727 KB)
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2011)
Highlights the development of the Customer Satisfaction Project, a tool communities can use to improve the quality and delivery of services to residents most in need. The report includes lessons learned from implementing the tool in Atlanta, GA, and Montgomery County, MD.
Solutions Storytelling: Messaging to Mobilize Support for Children's Issues: Suggested Strategies and Messages (PDF - 79 KB)
Douglas Gould & Co. Child Advocacy 360 Foundation (2009)
Explores strategies and messages that should be used (and avoided) when advocating for children using a comprehensive research project conducted for Child Advocacy 360 Foundation in 2009–2010.
State and local examples
Improved Child Welfare Services and Case Practice Needed in Prince George's: Child Advocates Identify Need for Significant Reforms (PDF - 203 KB)
Advocates for Children and Youth (2010)
Discusses results from interviews of people who represent or advocate for significant numbers of abused and neglected children. The results address best family therapy practices and lessons learned and provide recommendations for improving services.
Pinwheels for Prevention Family Advocacy Guide (PDF - 5,632 KB)
Florida Department of Children and Families, Prevent Child Abuse Florida, & Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida (2012)
Describes numerous ways to contribute to the healthy development of children and families, including engagement, coaching and mentoring, advocacy, and more.