Support and Self Care for Advocates

Support and self-care are important for anyone exposed to the trauma of child welfare. They’re particularly important for parent advocates because the experiences of the families they work with so often parallel their own.

Parent advocates may contend with pain and anger over traumas and injustices faced by parents. They may be asked to use their personal experiences in their work to support other parents or to educate the system and the public. This, too, can cause re-traumatization or feelings of over-exposure. At times, parent advocates may contend with complicated feelings about parents they work with.

In this section you’ll find reflections and tools related to support and self-care.


Emotional Supports that Address the Impact of Past Trauma and Current Work Challenges, Australia

The Family Inclusion Network of Western Australia

Jaquie Mayne and Debbie Henderson, Community Development Officer and Executive Officer of The Family Inclusion Network of Western Australia, reflect on the broad range of emotional supports FIN WA offers its family partners.

Making Sense of Grief and Shame: Emotional Supports for Family Partners in Western Australia



Emotional Support through Professional Development, The United States

The Bronx Defenders

In 2017, The Bronx Defenders, which represents parents with child welfare cases in family court and defendants in criminal court in New York City, and employs parent advocates to work on teams with lawyers and social workers, created a Safety and Wellness Taskforce. The taskforce decided to address emotional support and self-care through ongoing professional development for frontline staff and supervisors. Their Safety and Wellness Work Summary provides an overview of the topics they covered over the course of two years.


Additional Resources

Washington State Parent Ally Committee (WPAC)40 Self Care Things You Can Do While Incarcerated
This list of 40 self-care activities that parent advocates in Washington State created for incarcerated parents can be useful for everyone, including parent advocates.

The Healing Justice Campaign, Dignity & Power Now: The Healing Justice Campaign is an initiative run by grassroots organization Dignity & Power Now in conjunction with the Justice Team Network. Dignity & Power Now is an LA-based grassroots organization aimed at preserving the dignity of incarcerated prisoners, their families and affected communities. The Healing Justice work at Dignity & Power Now provides assistance to those affected by trauma as a result of state law enforcement. The program functions through a number of organized meetups offering healing assistance in difference forms such as therapy, reiki and massage. The Healing Justice Toolkit is available in English and Spanish.

University at Buffalo School of Social Work: This website provides free self-care resources, including a Self-Care Starter Kit. The resources may be useful to parent advocates, both as they consider how to care for themselves and to share and discuss with parents they are supporting.

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