A Day in the Life of a Family Advocate
You never really know what your day is going to look like as a family advocate. We work with children and families who have been impacted by trauma and abuse, so schedules can change in an instant.
When children and families are coping with the initial report and ensuing investigation, we as family advocates are here to help. Our job is to provide support, information, and resources to help the family navigate the process (after all, there isn’t a manual for this type of thing) and to make sure their basic needs are being met so they can focus on protecting their child and rebuilding their lives.
When a family arrives at our center, I am the first to greet them and make sure they have everything they need to feel safe and comfortable. While the child is receiving their forensic interview, I meet with the family to obtain information and identify any immediate or ongoing needs the family has. I also use this time to educate the family on the investigation process, their rights, and the resources available to them. Oftentimes, we are the first contact caregivers and supportive family members have had since learning about the initial report, so we're very intentional about giving them the space to take some deep breaths, vent, and ask questions.
If you visit our center, you will see fingerprint trees lining the walls. Each child leaves their print, as a way of showing other children that they're not alone. Children also receive a new comfort item after they receive services - these are all donated to us by our community. If a child needs tangible items such as clothing, shoes, or toiletries, we can supply those through our Rainbow Room on an as needed basis.
After the forensic interview, I consistently follow up with the family to check in and see how they’re doing. If needed, I can plug them into any services they need, including trauma-based therapy. I can also serve as a link between the families and the investigators, frequently providing case updates to the family and sharing important updates on family status to our multi-disciplinary team.
If a case goes to court, I can accompany the child to be a supportive person for them, especially in the case of children who don’t have any non-offending family members or protective caregivers.
Being a family advocate is messy and beautiful, like life. I’m often asked how I could do something like this every day, and the truth is, it’s the best, most rewarding calling around. I wanted to become a family advocate to be there for caregivers and families - to help guide them and be that safe space for them throughout the process. Seeing families heal together in the aftermath of heartache and trauma makes it all worth it.
Maureen Fletcher, family advocate since 2017
CAC Family Advocate Team
Sesha Daniels, Sherry Jones, Maureen Fletcher, Bianca Telford, Teeauna Hill
What motivated you to become a family advocate?
I wanted to become a family advocate to be there for caregivers and families. Everyone is focused on healing and helping the child - which is so important. This is also a heavy thing for parents and caregivers, so I want to help guide and be that safe space for caregivers through this process.
I wanted to be a family advocate to get to know the families, give them resources to succeed, and help them heal.
I love working with children - it's something that I have always enjoyed, so I knew I wanted to get back to doing work with kids at some point. Now that I am in the advocate role and get to make a positive difference in their lives, makes me love it even more.
What motivated me to become an advocate is my desire to help others in whatever capacity large or small.
With prior experience with child protective services, I've always wanted to do more to help families who are in need and going through life-changing situations.
What is your favorite part about the advocacy role?
I love that each family is always so different. I love working with families and getting to know how each family finds what works best for them and begin healing together.
My favorite part of the advocate role is seeing families as a whole heal and break the cycle.
One thing I love is as an advocate, you get to help families in so many different ways, whether it’s just comforting when needed or simply making them feel/know they are not alone throughout the process of everything and just talking with/listening to them, etc. Families appreciate it so much, and always let me know how much they do.
My favorite part of the advocate role is providing education and resources to caregivers that empowers them and gives them hope for the future.
My favorite part about my role is listening to families open up and vent on situations/stressors.
What our clients say:
“The women here are very helpful and offer a lot of information about this process. I as a parent appreciate that! This is a hard situation but having women there to help makes it better. Thank you all for the kindness you are giving families.”
“Everyone we encountered made my child feel comfortable and secure.”
“My daughter and I were both nervous coming here, but we were greeted with warm smiles and very friendly faces. Thank you all for being so nice and considerate.”