Parent Advocate

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have been wondering about becoming a parent advocate. I need to do something. I am hoping that the new medications will make it possible for me to start some kind of career.

    someone posted about knowing a woman who started a business helping parents with the IEP process, getting the evaluations, etcetera.

    I think this is something I could do. I know there are NO advocates in my town, probably not in the area. And finding one in the big cities is impossible.

    So what qualifications would YOU want in a parent advocate?

    I don't have a degree in counselling or social work or anything. I have a business degree. But I ahve worked long and hard to find the ins and outs of our district and state. I am willing to get more training, to take classes at the university. heck, I can probably get scholarships for any classes.

    If you can remember who mentioned knowing a woman who started a business doing this, please let me know. I would like to ask her some questions.

    I really need to start thinking about something to do. I spent a lot of time learning about this stuff to help my family. I would enjoy owrking with other families for this kind of thing.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I've never been a parent advocate, but a youth advocate through the court system. It was called (and I KNOW I will spell this wrong) guardian at litem. Something like that.

    I'd go to court for a child who was in trouble. I would do family visits, spend time with the child, then report to the judge what I thought was going on. It was tremendously rewarding as you worked with families who were in need of every kind of counseling and assistance. Small town...the judges knew me and trusted my opinion. The goal was to keep the kid in the family, but sometimes that wasn't an option.

    I'd report, then give suggestions. If parents do XYZ, then the child should stay in the home. If they don't, then he/she needs to be removed. Most cases worked out well as the family just needed a guide. We all know how hard it is to find that guide.

    I think this is a great thing for you to do!!

  3. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Susie, you must really like a challange LOL

    I seem to recall that Wright's Law had some information available on becomming a PA (but its been,mmmm, years since I logged on to that site). I know locally, when I hired a PA from T.A.S.K. they had classes of some sort to become a PA as well.

    Here in Ca I think you can just go to the school and request you be added to their list of PA's -they have to give out a list to parents if they request one. The problem is that a lot of parents don't even know its available - its a well kept school district secret. But when I was doing that whole school hoohaa with Danny, I was advised NOT to use the school list as the PA's on there were mostly Xschool employees and had a tendancy to side with the school district on mostly everything.

    My ideal PA - a person with steel cujones who knew their stuff and wasn't able to be intimidated by school personnel bs.

  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Suzie! There's an organization called Parent to Parent that offers "how to" classes to teach parents how to advocate for their kids. It might be a good stepping stone for you.

    The perfect advocate? The one that knows when to charm and when to get harsh. One that knows "facts" vs. supposition. The one that knows who in the DOE does what and how to get to them.

    This endeavor has been crossing my mind as well, but now that I'm preggers again, I can't add the stress of studying to what I'm already dealing with! Let me know if you find any on-line stuff (I'd love to "audit" some classes without looking for to much input!!!

    Good luck!

  5. Star*

    Star* call 911

    What about Guardian Ad Litem? I was going to do that - but at the time I had too many of my own problems and Dude problems. I could probably do it now and I think it pays fairly well. Lots of running to court houses and going on home visits.

    You COULD also start your OWN Advocacy service - but it doesn't pay well and you don't get paid
  6. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member


    I work for the state affiliate of a nationwide advocacy organization. From support staff right on up to the executive director, all of us have navigated multiple systems on behalf of our own families - which is where the best experience comes from.

    A lot of what I do at work I learned before I ever got my first paycheck. I have also learned a great deal about professionalism and networking since I was hired, as well as taking further "in-the-field" training.

    There probably is a similar organization in your area, Susie. You could get an overview of what they do by attending support groups, an educational workshop, or a leadership group. Getting to know your people will give you an idea if this is where you want to go.

    Not that I discourage the venture, but striking out independantly is really tough.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  7. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I have thought of this very thing. Because I would have loved to have had someone to ask questions of but no one around here could be found.