We now know that separating children’s and women’s advocates creates silos in programs, high turnover of children’s staff, disconnected advocacy for families, and does not support children’s resiliency. In order to address this disconnect, programs may consider restructuring staff roles and priorities. Programs may begin to consider a base level of experience with children and teens when hiring any new staff and ensure training and professional development for all staff about children and supporting parents.
Use these Program Personnel Policy questions to revisit and gauge the effectiveness of personnel policies.
Staff Recruiting and Hiring Practices:
- When we recruit for all positions, do we seek experience in working with children, teens and families?
- Do all position interviews include questions about experience and philosophy regarding working with children and supporting parents?
- Do we ask questions that elicit feelings and values about working with children and teens and parenting approaching?
- When hiring, do we consider cultural diversity, knowledge of trauma informed approaches, understanding of the needs of under-served populations, and demonstrated skill in working with diverse families?
- Do we check child abuse registries and criminal records before hiring staff or engaging volunteers?
Staff Development and Support:
- Are all staff trained in child development, child advocacy, nonviolent discipline and supporting parents?
- Are all staff trained in providing trauma informed services with some focus on how trauma impacts children and brain development?
- Does our program provide adequate supervision for all advocates which includes opportunities for reflection on the challenges of working with a diversity of children and families?
- How can we better build program-wide capacity for all staff regarding cultural values and practices related to discipline and parenting within families?