Like most of the world, our team at Henrico CASA uses January to both reflect on the previous year and look ahead to the new one. It’s a time to remember who we are, what is important to us, and how we can improve. This month we look to our volunteer advocates, who carry out our mission every day, to remind us of our shared values and vision. We look towards a time when ALL children in Henrico County live in safe and stable homes.
Join us as we walk through our core values, learning from our amazing advocates as they share their perspectives on those values in response to discussion prompts.
Family Preservation and Reunification
Children grow up best in their families. Our work will support preservation and reunifications whenever that can be achieved safely.
There can be many challenges to family preservation when there has been abuse, neglect, or trauma. Reunification often requires healing and growth… and sometimes, it may not be possible because it conflicts with the primary goal of a child’s safety.
How do advocates balance the child’s safety with the goal of keeping families together?
- Remember that safety is primary; family reunification is secondary.
- Help parents understand what their children need and connect them to services that would help build a safer environment.
- Build trust, define safety, and recommend supportive services.
- Pay attention to how a child reacts to their parents or caregivers.
- Don’t let “perfect” be the energy of “good.”
- Maintain a “big picture” mindset.
How can advocates interact with family members to emphasize a tone of compassion?
- Be an active listener.
- Meet people where they are.
- Be encouraging and applaud positive action (even if it is in small steps!).
- Take your time and be comfortable with silence.
- Be willing to share your own experiences.
- Inquire in a non-judgmental way.
Compassion is key! Would you be interested in serving as a child advocate? Learn more at henricocasa.org/advocate.