Parent Advocacy

Parent Engagement Program
The Parent Engagement Program was developed to improve outcomes for parents who are involved with Child Welfare Services. These parents are matched with Parent Advocates who provide the education, advocacy and support that helps parents

• Navigate the Child Welfare System,

• Address safety concerns identified by Child Welfare, and

• When possible - to reunify with their children.

The strength of the Parent Engagement Program is our staff. Our Parent Advocates all have personal experience – and personal success – navigating the Child Welfare System to regain custody of their children. With professional development, specialized training and support, they are able to turn their experience into expertise – offering hope and guidance to other parents who are currently struggling to reunify.

Parent Advocates provide outreach and consultation to other programs and workgroups within Alameda County to assure that the “Family Voice” is represented. By actively participating on a variety of committees, Parent Advocates also work to improve outcomes by affecting change at the policy and program development level. 

Core components of the program include:

Assessment Center phone calls: Parent Advocates make the first contact with parents who’ve had a child removed.  Advocates assure parents that their child(ren) are safe and being assessed for safety and well-being. In this call, we prepare parents for their initial Team Decision Making Meeting.

Team Decision Making (TDM): This meeting involves families, workers and others involved with a child’s family and is held when there are serious risks to a child that could result in out-of-home placement.  Parent Advocates insure that parents know their rights as parents and have a voice in the TDM process. Advocates support parents to have their concerns and desires taken into consideration during these meetings.

CHAT (Communicating History and Transitions): A CHAT introduction meeting, facilitated by Parent Advocates, provides birth parents and foster parents an opportunity to exchange information regarding the children when an out-of-home placement is required.

Parent Orientation Course: Consists of three introductory classes, led by Parent Advocates, designed to help families by giving information about the Child Welfare process and available resources. Also, parents get education about their legal rights and responsibilities as parents involved with the system.

Case Work: Parent Advocates assist parents in making the life choices that will limit risk and increase safety for their children.  Advocates help parents work through case plans, modify their behaviors, access resources, develop natural support systems and implement important tools to manage parenting responsibilities.

Parent Leadership Support Group: An ongoing support group comprised of parents who have successfully navigated the Child Welfare System. This group meets bi-weekly to share the tools, knowledge and information that will help them become strong family advocates.

The Fatherhood Circle: A support group for fathers working their way through the social services system and in the process of reunifying with their children, while also developing more skills as parents. This is a critical part of Alameda County’s Fatherhood Initiative.

Committees and Workgroups: We are delighted to serve on committees with DCFS and other community partners, bringing the parent’s voice to the table and having influence at the policy making level. To name a few, we work with Bay Area Collaboration of American Indian Resources (BACAIR), Alameda County Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (ACCIPP), and Team Raise, which works to dissolve disproportionate representation of African American, Latino and Native
families in the child welfare system.
 
These services are offered at our Hayward and Berkeley offices.