The International Parent Advocacy Network (IPAN) partnered with Rise to develop a toolkit to support advocacy by parents whose families have been harmed by child welfare systems worldwide. In the coming weeks, Rise will publish a series of interviews and share resources and information from this toolkit.
The toolkit covers 10 topical areas and includes a wide range of materials. For example:
- In the Child Welfare Parent Advocacy Movement section, read an interview with an Indigenous activist in Canada who started an advocacy organization after being affected by the child welfare system as a child, mother and grandmother.
- In the Legislative Advocacy section, learn about legislation proposed by a Representative of the United States Congress — who is also a parent impacted by child welfare — that would stop timelines for termination of parental rights during the COVID crisis. This section also features a lobbying toolkit from Australia and a grassroots public policy advocacy guide from the United States.
- In the Research and Evaluation section, read about how parent advocates guide research on parent experiences in England and Australia.
- In the Individual Parent Advocacy section, access materials that parent advocates around the world use to provide parents going through the system with information, emotional support and tools to advocate for themselves.
The goal is to make it easier for parents and their allies to advocate for change, provide peer support, raise up solutions that exist outside the system, improve children’s lives and help build a sustained parent advocacy movement.
We hope this can build the power of parent advocates and impacted families and communities, as well as offer guidance to anyone wishing to start or strengthen a parent-led program, organization, or local movement–and related intersectional justice movements.
Many commonalities connect the experiences of parents around the world who have been impacted by child welfare and other unjust systems. We envision the toolkit as a way that we can learn from each other’s experiences as an international community.
>> Learn more about IPAN and the toolkit from Parent Advocate and IPAN Board President Heather Cantamessa