A great way that you can get involved and help great childhoods happen in your community is by speaking up on behalf of children and families. When we use the term “advocate,” we mean anyone who promotes policies that support children and families. While most commonly used when talking about government, you can also be an advocate at local businesses or schools as well. Here are some tips on how to become an advocate and some examples of family-friendly policies that you can support.
The very best thing that you can be an advocate for children and families is to remain up to date on the issues and policies that affect children. By being knowledgeable about trends and happenings in the child abuse and neglect prevention world, you have the opportunity to not only help others understand why prevention is so important but also the specific ways that you’d like them to get involved.
A great way to do this is by joining our newsletter list so you can stay informed of critical policies and aware of advocacy opportunities. You can also find the federal policies that we at Prevent Child Abuse America support at our public policy agenda.
If you’re looking to learn more about policies at a state and local level, you can connect with your local Prevent Child Abuse America chapter to learn more about local initiatives and in-person advocacy opportunities.
Working with Local Institutions
Advocacy doesn’t have to mean working on specific laws or changes within the government. You can be an advocate for change within a business, school, or other community institution as well.
For example, many businesses have the ability to institute policies that not only make things easier on parents but are good for the company as well! Policies like flex-time, or giving workers flexible but fair schedules, can make a big difference by reducing stress for working and single parents. Policies like these can also improve the business’ bottom line by creating a healthier and more stable workforce. If you’re interested in learning more, the CDC has put together a great resource that can be used by beginning and experienced business advocates alike. We have also put together a short infographic that you can use when advocating for family-friendly policies.
Similarly, advocating within a school can take many forms. An interested parent can become an advocate simply by attending school board or PTA meetings. Take advantage of your chance to meet with school officials and learn more about the programs that in place to help prevent child sexual abuse, enhance children’s social and emotional development, and prevent incidences of bullying.
Advocates can also get in touch with issue-specific groups, such as Darkness to Light for child sexual abuse prevention or CASEL for social-emotional learning information – in order to find information and resources that can better equip schools and institutions to tackle these subjects.
One Step at a Time
No matter how you use your voice or if you prefer to write emails or letters, by speaking up on behalf of children and the policies that benefit their families, you are an advocate. While rewarding, advocating for change isn’t accomplished overnight! We encourage you to stay in touch with us all year long as we highlight programs and policies that are making a difference and find the opportunities to get involved in your own community.