Be honest in all interactions. Families and children’s lives are involved in this work. It is not a game. Staying honest is always the best tactic.
Work to feel confident in your abilities as an advocate. See yourself as an equal partner with the system professionals. No one person has all the answers. The kinds of information brought to the table may be different but maybe of equal importance.
Show Mutual Respect
With the sense of equality comes the knowledge of mutual respect. Every player in the child welfare system is generally doing their best from their point of view. It will be important to understand the other’s point of view.
Express opinions in a positive manner. Negative interactions between families and the system can wear them out. Avoid negative deterioration of discussions. Work to keep the point of view positive.
Be Prepared with Knowledge
Be prepared by learning the laws that apply to child welfare and the administrative rules that apply to the agency as well as foster and adoptive parents. Advanced knowledge will help in any advocacy role.
Spend time becoming acquainted with the members of the team and with your local and state leaders. Resource Parents often know the line staff but not the decision makers. Seek opportunities to interact with decision makers. Acknowledging when you see them doing a good job will lay the groundwork for more difficult communication when there are conflicts.