Select a problem facing a group of children or youth in your state or community, apply the steps of advocacy to it, and make a presentation to the class. For your presentation:
A. Identify the problem. Who says it’s a problem? Professionals? Documents you’ve read? Personal experience (if the latter – make sure that other people have indicated that it’s a problem also by providing references) Try to be as specific as you can as to what the problem is. For instance, if you identify as a problem, childcare in this state, what do you mean? The quality of childcare? The high turnover rate of childcare workers? The availability of childcare? B. Get factual information/evidences about the scope, nature, and dimensions of the problem. For instance, if you are focusing on the quality of childcare, you may want to get information on how much training childcare workers have about child development, required educational level, child/staff ratio, etc. This information can be obtained from state and childcare agencies, and other sources. C. Identify the target for advocacy; that is, the people or organization that can make the changes to improve the situation. Examples are legislators, the general public, news media, childcare workers, etc. For this assignment, select only one group as the target. D. Identify the barriers to accomplishing the desired outcomes Identify the barriers to accomplishing the desired outcomesE. Identify who has the authority to eliminate the barriersF. Identify other organization or individuals who have an interest in the issue and share your concerns and desired outcomes with themG. Devise strategies for changing the situation. What advocacy tactic will you use? What was your reason for that selection? The following are possibilities:
- Persuasion – providing the target system with additional information that will allow them to make a different decision. In the childcare example, a possible tactic is to provide information to legislators on the correlation between turnover in childcare workers and impact on children.
- Identify the relevant regulatory body and file a grievance or complaint. For example, file a complaint about childcare agencies that are violating state standards for staff/child ratio.
- Publicize the problem and possibly embarrass the target through such tactics as letters to a newspaper, picketing, sit-ins, demonstrations, marches, etc.
- Exert political pressure by contacting elected officials, either personally, or through a letter writing/e-mail, or phone campaign.
- Organize a petition campaign by collecting signatures on a petition asking organization or agency to make a change. Where and how will you present the petition?