As foster and adoptive parents, we literally take on the role of champion for our children, aggressively and consistently fighting for their rights. So how do we advocate for ourselves? Many times, we're not sure. Following is a list of tips you can use to become a better self-advocate.
1. Believe in yourself
You are worth the effort it takes to protect your interests and your rights. YOU CAN DO IT!
2. Realize you have rights.
You are entitled to, equally under the law, inform yourself by asking questions and using resources. Insist that explanations are clear and understandable.
3. Discuss your concerns.
Talk directly with your service provider either by telephone, writing a letter/email or in person. You may bring someone for support.
4. Get the facts.
Problem solve by gathering information. Get the facts in writing. Ask for the policies, rules or regulations being cited to you. People sometimes settle for a quick verbal decision that may not be accurate. Hold agencies accountable for the decisions they make.
5. Use the chain of command.
Use an agency's chain of command to make sure a supervisor or someone else with authority has an opportunity to work with you on the problem and the resolution.
Stay tuned tomorrow for five more tips.
-- T. LaShaun Wallace