Advocacy with or within a Child Advocacy Center

First Witness advocacy training seeks to build a community of advocates who share knowledge, insights, skills and support as they continue their work.
Background:

More than 30 years ago, the movements to end violence against women and children began with largely volunteer groups working out of church basements, houses and small community offices. Initially, many advocates were themselves survivors of physical and sexual violence. Early advocates connected women and children to resources and safety. They also identified solutions to the larger problem of societal/family or gender violence.

Today, advocates exist in a variety of capacities and specialties within non-profit and government organizations. We work in an age of increased public awareness, organized criminal justice response and ongoing funding within the child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence movements. Although these factors allow for a higher level of services, often the notion of broader social change is lost. Advocates are relegated to bullet-point job descriptions, the ultimate goal of which is providing service rather than creating change.

Purpose:

First Witness Advocacy creates an advocacy perspective rooted in the experiences of those hurt by violence and abuse. This perspective informs the advocacy practice as well as the policies and job descriptions that define advocates’ roles. It also guides program and organizational development, system interventions and community understanding of the social problems at the root of violence and abuse. With the First Witness Advocacy perspective, advocates and organizations can better respond on both the individual and the societal levels, creating long-term safety for abuse victims and entire communities.

First Witness Advocacy bridges the gap between individual advocacy with one victim and system-based advocacy that creates change for many victims. This is in contrast to more restrictive advocacy models that are based on delivering services identified by practitioners. Through hands-on practice, participants will learn how to put advocacy principles into action, including conducting a focus group to improve programming, changing organizations and systems and creating programs and interventions that meet victims’ needs. Participants will practice skills for effective crisis intervention and advocacy, problem solving and decision making around the toughest issues in advocacy work. They will leave with answers to the following questions:

– “What are my options for advocacy within the system?”
– “How do I make sure the victim’s voice is present in the change I’m seeking?”
– “How does my organization support advocacy-based work?”
– “What gives me credibility as an advocate, and how can I enhance this?”

First Witness advocacy training seeks to build a community

Participants will:
• Understand the principles of social change advocacy and how to use them in their work
• Understand how societal beliefs and values impact advocacy
• Learn and practice crisis intervention and counseling
• Explore controversial issues in advocacy such as confidentiality, boundaries and neutrality
• Learn how to create system change and facilitate focus groups with families
• Learn about how to build child and family resiliency in the face of abuse
• Learn how to create an advocacy-based organization and a community of advocates
• Understand the advocate role and how to work within a multi-disciplinary team structure
• Learn about the victim advocacy standard for National Children’s Alliance Accreditation

Who should attend:
• Advocates working within a child advocacy center
• Advocates working within sexual assault or domestic violence agencies who work with a child advocacy center
• Directors or managers within child advocacy centers
• Victim witness specialists
• Any advocate working on behalf of survivors of physical and/or sexual violence and/or child abuse

Training Agenda

Pre Reading
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE DYNAMICS
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA CHILD ABUSE DYNAMICS TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR ADVOCATESGoals: 1. Advocates will understand the basic dynamics of child abuse and the impact on children, non-offending caregivers and families, and 2. Advocates will explore how these dynamics impact the way advocates interact with families and create system change for families.
MDT AND CHILD ADVOCACY CENTERS
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA COORDINATED MULTI-DISCIPLINARY RESPONSE TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR ADVOCATESGoals: 1. Define the advocate’s role on the multi-disciplinary team, 2. Understand the goal of a multi-disciplinary team and the processes to ensure coordinated responses (case review, etc.)
Day One
SOCIETY, BELIEFS AND THE IMPACT OF ADVOCACY
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA DYNAMICS OF ABUSE TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR ADVOCATESGoals: 1.Critically analyze societal beliefs and institutional practices in relation to the impact on children and families we serve, our advocacy practice and our team, 2.Understand need and role for advocacy, and 3. Establish a framework for cross cultural understanding and competency.
6 CORE PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL CHANGE ADVOCACY
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA TRAUMA INFORMED SERVICES TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR ADVOCATESGoals: 1. Provide a theoretical framework for advocates to make decisions about individual advocacy, system and social change and organizational design, and 2. Have advocates analyze their current work through this theoretical framework and create plans for implementing these principles into their current and future work.
Day Two
ADVOCATE CREDIBILITY
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA COORDINATED MULTI-DISCIPLINARY RESPONSE TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR ADVOCATESGoal: Advocates define how and where their credibility is established and how it can be utilized within their work.
CRISIS ASSESSMENT AND INTERVENTION SKILLS RISK ASSESSMENT AND SAFETY PLANNING
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA CRISIS ASSESSMENT AND INTERVENTION SKILLS, &
RISK ASSESSMENT AND SAFETY PLANNING TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR ADVOCATES
Goals: 1. Advocates will learn the basic skills for crisis intervention, 2. Participants will understand risk assessment and safety planning through an advocacy perspective, 3. Advocates will understand the impact of an open vs. closed environment when working with families and 4. Advocates will practice the skills through role plays and scenarios.
BOUNDARIES AND ETHICS AS APPLIED TO ADVOCATES
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND BOUNDARIES TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR ADVOCATESGoals: 1. Advocates will be able to identify how to make decisions regarding personal and professional boundaries utilizing the six core principles of advocacy, 2. Advocates will be able to determine appropriate sharing of information with the team at case review and in other team interactions.
USING PREVENTION MESSAGES IN INDIVIDUAL WORK WITH FAMILIES
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA RISK ASSESSMENT AND SAFETY PLANNING & DYNAMICS OF ABUSE TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR ADVOCATESGoals: 1. Advocates will understand basic prevention messaging as it applies to on-going safety planning, 2. Advocates will be able to apply the use of prevention messages to their work with families and 3. Advocates will understand healthy sexual development.
Day Three
ACTIVE ADVOCACY: PROVIDING DIRECT SUPPORT THROUGH COURT AND OTHER SYSTEMS
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA COURT EDUCATION, SUPPORT AND ACCOMPANIMENT & ASSISTANCE WITH ACCESS TO TREATMENT AND OTHER SERVICES TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR ADVOCATESGoals: 1. Understand the role of advocates in providing direct on-going support and the positive impact on children and families, 2. Learn concrete ways to provide court and other system support, 3. Learn how to make facilitated referrals and provide resources appropriate for families and children, and 4. Learn about victim’s rights and the advocate’s role in ensuring they are met.
SYSTEM CHANGE
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA COORDINATED MULTI-DISCIPLINARY RESPONSE TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR ADVOCATESGoals: 1. Identify steps to creating system change, 2. Demonstrate critical thinking skills for strategizing advocacy within systems, 3. Demonstrate communication skills with other practitioners, 4. Utilize steps for system change to solve a system issue, and 5. Understand concept and practice of focus group facilitation.
TRAUMA INFORMED ADVOCACY
DESIGNED TO MEET NCA TRAUMA INFORMED SERVICES TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR ADVOCATESGoals: 1. Understand the relationship of advocacy to trauma informed principles and care, 2.define the impacts of providing advocacy on the advocates themselves, and 3. Develop strategies for mitigating the personal effects trauma in providing advocacy.
THE ADVOCACY TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR: ASSISTANCE IN ACCESSING/OBTAINING VICTIM’S RIGHT AS OUTLINED IN LAW WILL BE MINIMALLY DISCUSSED IN THIS TRAINING. WE SUGGEST ADVOCATES ATTEND A TRAINING IN THEIR OWN STATE WHEN LEARNING ABOUT VICTIM ASSISTANCE PAPERWORK AND RIGHTS.
(CLICK TO READ NCA COMPONENTS)

Flying:

There are two options when flying to Duluth, Minnesota.

1. Fly right into Duluth International Airport (This is the aiport closest to us. It is only a couple miles from the hotel and our training facility. If you fly into Duluth, you will not need to rent a car because the hotel offers free shuttle service to and from the hotel and also to and from the training facility.)

2. Fly into Minneapolis International Airport and take a shuttle to Duluth using one of the following shuttle services:

A. Skyline Shuttle (most convenient scheduling options) (3 hours)

B. Jefferson Lines (5 hours)

3. Fly into Minneapolis International Airport, rent a car and drive to Duluth (two hours and fifteen minutes).

Shuttle service/taxi/car rental
Holiday Inn offers free shuttle service to and from the Duluth International Airport.
If you are flying into the Duluth Airport, there are car rental companies at the airport. A taxi will cost about $25-$30 from the airport. If you have any problems or questions making transportation arrangements, please contact me and I can help sort out a plan.

ACCOMMODATIONS:
We have a contract with the Holiday Inn and Suites. After you register, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a link to reserve your hotel. Unfortunately, we cannot give the link befor registration.
Distance: 5 blocks
They offer free covered parking in a convenient and remodeled location. They also offer free shuttle to and from the training (just schedule ahead of time with the front desk for drop off and then you will have to call them to be picked up).

Training Location:
First Witness is located at 4 West 5th Street, in downtown Duluth. If you are driving up the hill, we are on the left on the corner of Lake Avenue and 5th Street. Our building is painted light gray and looks like a dentist office or house. We do not have a sign outside.

Parking:
First Witness has both an upper and lower parking area. Please park in the lower lot (access through alley) and use the lower entrance that will bring you directly into the training room.

Accessibility:
For those needing a no stair access to our building, please use the lower entrance off of the alley. If you need any accommodations as it pertains to reading or hearing aids. With a little notice, we are happy to provide a wide range of supplies and equipment to make this the best learning environment for you.

Nursing mothers:
We are so grateful for nursing mothers that find time to come through our training. We know it is difficult being away from home, especially when you are nursing. Please let us know if you require a private room while visiting us. With a little notice, we are more than happy to set one up.

Meet Your Trainers


Beth Olson 2015 ProfileIna Newton 2015
Beth Olson,
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Ina Newton,
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