Do I Need an Avocate?

Why do I need a Child advocate not a lawyer

because Children’s First Advocacy we specialize in DCF and Educational procedures where as lawyers pratice in area’s of Massachusetts General Law, not State requirements and regulations. In addition many issues children and families face are not related to legal action in either criminal or civil matters.

what we can do for you as our client.

Child abuse allegations:

  • Inform you of your rights under M.G.L. 119 and C.M.R. 110
  • Home visits prior to a DCF 51B investigation to make sure you are within DCF standards
  • Participate in 51A- 51B process representing the family
  • Protect children rights during the interview process by limiting questions that are asked
  • Protect your children from a physical search by DCF caseworkers.
  • Telephone consultation
  • Review current DCF Family Net records
  • Verify credentials of DCF worker, verify social workers license
  • File complaints on DCF workers actions or lack of; Assist in case closing
  • File appeals via Fair Hearing process
  • File school safety letter limiting the questioning of your children in school
  • Make referrals to different agencies if needed
  • Testify in court as children’s advocate based on specific needs
  • Advocate in Foster Care Review Hearings to facilitate the return of your children
  • Review Service Plans/ seek correction in task assigned
  • Educate families regarding DCF
  • Conduct family reviews of home atmosphere prior to separation or divorce procedures to protect against false accusations.
  • Group presentations available for PTO’s, church groups, and home school parents.

Educational issues:

  • Make request for educational services.
  • Seek testing in academic, behavioral or social issues faced by the student.
  • Seek to have an (Individual education Plan) IEP written for a student once eligibility is determined
  • Request a team meeting to deal with educational issues.
  • Request 504 determination meeting.
  • File for mediation with Department of Elementary & Secondary Education in Special Educations issues.
  • Seek after school programs and service for educational assistance.
  • Stop situations when your child(ren) are bullied at school.
  • Provide an understanding of School Districts “zero tolerance” polices and the effect they may have on your child(ren).
  • Seek to have school records corrected or additional information placed into your child(ren) permanent file.
  • Assist with home tutoring forms and requirements.

Why dcf will tell you, you do not need an advocate.

  • DCF does not want you to have an advocate because this will make them have to follow the rules and regulations.
  • DCF will claim to want to help your children by finding you “supported” of neglect or abuse.
  • DCF will claim they are there to help you, the parent, so you do not need any other assistance.
  • DCF does not want you to know your rights regarding the filing of a 51A or 51B investigation.
  • DCF wants to ask your children any question they seem fit without remaining on subject matter or your consent.
  • DCF has operated without checks and balances for so long, they often make common mistakes that an advocate will find and use to assist your family.

Why a school district will tell you, you do not need an advocate.

  • School district(s) want to have control over all aspects of services.
  • School district(s) want to have policies and procedures that are not questioned or brought to the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education attention.
  • Special education law requires certain services that are costly and not often embraced by school systems.
  • School district(s) do not want to be reported to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, which may require them to take corrective action, if they are found responsible for failure to provide some services.
  • Many times decisions are made which school districts do not want to face public exposure for.
  • School district(s) feel they are the only ones who know what is best educationally for your child(ren).

Parents are always their child(ren) best advocate. When dealing with certain children related situations, which require interacting with governmental agency’s, it can be better to have someone else represent your interest, due to the emotional attachment naturally established to your child(ren) best interest.

Cost associated with a Child Advocate is less expensive than with a lawyer. If the situation you face requires a lawyer, Children First Advocacy we will always refer you for legal advice.

Available for emergency situations.

Reasonable rates/sliding fee scale for those who qualify.

Children First Advocacy and or their employees or sub contractors do not provide legal advice in any situation. Children First Advocacy provides services associated with procedural actions concerning allegations child abuse or neglect and educational issues facing children and families in Massachusetts.