Educational Advocacy is your dedicated partner in empowering foster/adoptive/guardianship parents. We provide a wealth of support and resources to help you navigate the intricate educational and child welfare systems. Our team of advocates serves as a crucial bridge between caregivers, educators, and child welfare professionals, fostering improved communication and mutual understanding. Through this collaborative effort, families gain access to essential resources, referrals, and emotional support, ensuring their child(ren) embarks on a path of well-being and academic achievement.
Our trauma-informed approach takes inspiration from the National Wraparound Initiative’s ten guiding principles. These principles serve as a roadmap for our work, emphasizing the integration of family voice and choice, the building of strong teams, leveraging natural supports, fostering collaboration, tailoring individualized plans, prioritizing cultural competency, and much more. Our dedicated advocates work tirelessly to ensure that each child’s unique educational needs are comprehensively addressed, providing a solid foundation for them to become successful, lifelong learners.
- Must be a foster/adoptive/guardianship parent residing in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, or St. Charles County.
- Child in the family is either in foster care, adopted from foster care, or in guardianship with a relative/kin.
- Child is between ages 3-19.
- Child is experiencing an educational “barrier”- something getting in the way of a child’s educational success or access.
What to Expect
After an initial intake and family consultation, our advocate conducts a comprehensive assessment, which may include school observations, interviews with teachers and staff, and, when suitable, a personal interview with the child. This assessment forms the basis for an Individualized Service Plan and Child Analysis document, outlining goals and exploring current supports and interventions in relation to the child’s progress.
Once the Service Plan is complete, our Educational Advocate embarks on a focused, collaborative effort to achieve the outlined goals. This can involve anything from informal after-school meetings to resolve concerns, to formal IEP evaluations and meetings with teams of professionals and school officials. Throughout this process, our advocate ensures all necessary paperwork is obtained, initial information is gathered to drive the child’s progress, and strong relationships are built with the school, social service agencies, and the family.
Once a child’s goal is achieved, a monitoring period begins to maintain their success. During this time, our advocate makes periodic calls to the family to ensure, for instance, that the school is adhering to the IEP. Additionally, they may conduct follow-up observations or home visits. A case is ready for closure when the child consistently succeeds during the monitoring period. Families should leave this process feeling empowered and better equipped to identify and utilize available resources.
Educational Advocacy is deeply committed to meeting the individualized needs of each child, safeguarding their educational rights, and amplifying their voice as experts in shaping their academic journey. Through the provision of consistent emotional support, resources, and referrals, we mend potential strains between educational administration and caregivers, fostering a harmonious partnership. This collaborative effort significantly contributes to improved educational outcomes, enhancing the stability of the child’s placement.
Our goals are ambitious yet attainable: 90% of students meet their educational goals at case closure, and 85% of students improve school functioning. Through tailored strategies, we empower students to achieve better educational outcomes, pursue graduation, and even higher education. Additionally, Educational Advocacy encourages creative pursuits, helping children to engage in fulfilling experiences involving art, music, and sports, fostering positive peer engagement, and nurturing a strong community and a profound sense of self. Our dedicated team of advocates goes beyond the classroom to boost children’s self-esteem, embracing their strengths and differences through a holistic approach.
Risharda Parker – Director of Educational Advocacy
1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
Educational Advocacy Inquiry Form