The work of an advocate at a children’s advocacy center (CAC) varies from day to day and from family to family, which can make it difficult to clearly outline the principles that guide this critical role in the CAC model. The following list outlines the principles of child advocacy, as defined by Minnesota’s CAC advocates.
These principles guide our approach to child advocacy and remind us of our collective values.
- Advocates hear, believe, and validate the victim/survivor and encourage others involved in the case to do the same.
- Advocates adhere to the victim/survivor’s preferences whenever possible and safe.
- Advocates support the victim/survivor to make their own decisions throughout the healing process.
- Advocates reserve bias and preserve openness.
- Advocates join the victim/survivor and non-offending caregiver (NOC), with the victim/survivor and NOC controlling the direction and extent to which an advocate is involved.
- Advocacy is dynamic, fluid, and ever-changing in accordance with the family’s needs.
- Advocates recognize that each victim/survivor’s experience is their own and no two healing journeys are the same.
- Advocates understand self-awareness, self-care, and professional development as key components of providing effective advocacy.
- Advocates accept uncertainty, ambiguity, and that which cannot be controlled.
- Advocacy strives to be anti-racist, unbiased, empowering, socially-just and restorative.
- Advocates represent and uphold the desires of the victim/survivor and NOC in discussions with other professionals.
- Advocates are ethically bound to inform children and families about the scope and limitations of confidentiality within the CAC setting.