By Mike McElvogue.
I became a volunteer member and Family Care Advocate for the Better Together Team because I have always helped others, and especially children. I believe if people work hard, they can achieve their dreams.
Better Together’s mission to keep children out of foster care by strengthening families through work and relational support inspired me. I believe in the Better Together approach. They provide the child a safe, nurturing, loving, stable and Biblically-based family and home to live in until they can be reunited with their parent(s). It is in the best interest of the child and family.
I served as a Guardian ad Litem for 11 years. During this time, I observed the trauma that children experience when separated from their parent(s). Frequently, that unfortunate, transitional trauma may occur again several times during the year or longer. It depends on the time that it takes for the family to be reunited. Transitioning into Foster Care should be the last option for the safety and development of the child.
Family Care Advocates Make A Difference
The goal of the Family Care Advocate is to work towards family reunification as soon as possible.
- As a Family Care Advocate, you have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the life and future of a child or children, and their family. It takes serving, loving, and listening to them with understanding. Through our behavior, they have a role model, Then, they can begin to change their own lives. By working alongside these families, we will learn to appreciate the challenges these families face.
- The Family Care Advocate is a bridge-support person. This role ensures the children have everything they need to be safe and loved during the hosting experience. Family Care Advocates serve as a facilitator between the parent(s), host family, and resource team as the frontline volunteer. We help these families flourish and reach their God-given potential through kindness, empathy, and love.
- Family Care Advocates provide a listening ear, support, and resources for both the parents and host family. This allows them to meet the immediate needs and achieve the stated goals:
- The Advocate works to be the “go-to person” for support, questions or concerns. They act as a relational coach, solution provider, mentor, and accountability partner.
- The Advocate facilitates open, honest, and timely communication by being patient, responsive and positive as the parents build their confidence. Through the parent-advocate relationship, the parents will realize that you believe in and trust them. In turn,they set realistic expectations, goals, action plans and a timeline so they can successfully achieve their reunification goal.
I believe so strongly in Better Together because of its foundation as a faith-based team. It can impact change in a child’s and family’s life forever.
I urge you to read the book, “Three Little Words,” by Ashely Rhodes-Courter. This story illustrates how one person can make a huge difference in far-reaching ways.
Join the Better Together Team