This is a great resource for anyone trying to advocate for a BC youth. Click here to read the full report or an excerpt below.
Qualities of Effective Child and Youth Advocates
• Advocates are child-centred. They are interested in the child’s needs and views and try to help others see the situation through the eyes of the child.
• Advocates know that they can’t change the world or solve every problem, but are Champions for Change when they recognize the need.
• Advocates are clear about their role and whose rights and interests they represent.
• Advocates are organized and make every effort to have the issue resolved in a timely matter. When dealing with children and youth, time is of the essence. One month’s delay in making a decision in the life of a child or youth often has more impact than in the life of an adult.
• Advocates familiarize themselves with complaint resolution and appeal processes and encourage the use of these processes before they help in other ways.
• Advocates are persistent – they don’t give up!
• Advocates are assertive – they say what needs to be said to ensure everyone is clear about the child or youth’s issue or situation.
• Advocates are inquisitive – they ask a lot of questions and gather a lot of information.
• Advocates are resourceful – they have a good understanding of their community, as well as other programs, services, policies or legislation.
• Advocates are imaginative, innovative and creative – they are solution-oriented and think outside the box.
• Advocates are respectful and willing to listen and learn and try to understand various perspectives, opinions and positions.
• Advocates are compassionate people.
• Advocates are sensitive to diversity – they don’t judge a book by its cover.
• Advocates encourage and support self-advocacy – they support empowerment.
• Advocates avoid any false, misleading or unfair statements or claims – they always try to be factual, transparent and objective.
• Advocates give realistic advice and inform others about the consequences and risks associated with their actions, and the agreed-upon decision.
• Advocates are sensitive to a person’s right to confidentiality and the legal limitations of this right.
• Advocates understand that not everyone will agree with them and what they have to say on behalf of a child or youth, and recognize that standing up for what is right sometimes means standing alone.
• Advocates are passionate about social justice and holding the system and individuals accountable. Not everyone welcomes their efforts but most respect them.
Adapted from: The Advokit