Fearless R2W has put together this visual summary of our advocacy system and our advocacy tips!
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Fearless R2W Advocacy System & Tips
Our advocacy is based on working cooperatively with parents, community resources, and the child welfare system.
We believe that the child welfare system exists because there are some kids that need protection. However, we believe it is best for children to be raised by their own family whenever it is safe to do so.
We use our team of volunteer advocates’ ongoing education/experiences to explain system processes and support parents in the way that they ask of us.
The buddy system is designed to help support families dealing with CFS by allowing the parent to have an external & community based support available in meetings with CFS.
Meaning of Our Name – Fearless R2W Circle of Support – Manitoba Child Welfare Education and Advocacy
Fearless Perspective on CFS – We believe that the system exists because there are some kids that need protection. With that being said, we believe it is best for children to be raised by their own family. If that is not the case, extended family, in community and in their cultural background placements should be considered in that order.
Creation Story – Fearless R2W began in January of 2014 at Meet Me @ the Bell Tower.
We take the confidentiality of our families very seriously, and only offer support that they want & have consent forms for parents and the agency to guarantee it.
Advocates can be a mouthpiece when parents and children are not able to speak for themselves – due to obligations or stresses of the system. It also means supporting parents to use their voices whenever possible for their own self-advocacy.
In general, we keep an oral history of our families’ stories to protect them.
10×10 refers to our 10 Community Recommendations and 10 Government Recommendations. It means that we make a 50/50 workload when doing advocacy. (government/social workers/case plans/agency)
Advocates can support through emotional regulation and helping to balance the emotions in the room.Emotions can run very high in situations relating to CFS, since there is a lot of trauma and fear involved when families are separated. (workers/parents/advocates/breaks)
Because we’re volunteers, we don’t get paid to do this work, we’re here because there is a need in the community for this.
Referrals – If we can’t fully meet all of a family’s needs, we connect them with our network of trusted formal and informal supports.
Networking – We connect to organizations, services and people to ensure our families have access to the supports that they need.
Note Taking – If parents or advocates aren’t sure what to do in a meeting, just being an extra set of eyes and ears, and having a notebook ready is a good first step.
Pre-Meetings – Before attending meetings with social workers, first, we sit down with parents and/or their children to hear their story and talk about how we can meet their needs.
- get educated on the child welfare system
- don’t wait for the bad thing to happen before bringing your community together
- listen to the social worker
- attend workshops to build your skills
- as a helper to parents, encourage them to speak up for themselves
- show up on time
- speak the language of the worker / be professional
- don’t give in to anger
- be self aware of your body language and tone of voice and facial expressions
- don’t assume you “can’t” or are “not allowed” to do something
- know yourself / take self care
- know your own triggers and emotions