Tips For Advocacy

Tips on Self-Care During Hard Case Loads:

  • Check in with friends and colleagues who have chosen this admirable but tough line of work. We can’t discuss these cases with friends or family because of their confidential nature. In addition, the details are often too horrific to share in a social setting. We truly need a solid “squad”, in which all members feel comfortable sharing their well-being in a judgement- free and empathetic circle. 
  • Getting enough sleep is crucial (regular exercise helps with sleep).  These cases can keep us up at night, and in-turn, inhibiting our ability to handle them with the sharpness and attention they require.  
  • Discussing your feelings with colleagues helps dispel a lot of that stress that we incur after office hours. Yes, you can carve out an hour for yourself.  No human can be “on” 24/7, it’s unrealistic and it is a grave disservice to the children we are helping. Make time to do things that are fun with your family and friends because healthy and supportive connections are important.

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Signs of Child Abuse:

Here are some signs children are being physically abused: (

  • Sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Problems that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
  • Behavior that is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Lacks adult supervision
  • Is overly compliant, an overachiever, or too responsible
  • Comes to school early, stays late, and does not want to go home.

Child neglect can present as follows: (

  • Frequently absent from school
  • Begs or steals food or money
  • Lacks needed medical care (including immunizations), dental care, or glasses
  • Is consistently dirty and has severe body odor
  •  Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather; Abuses alcohol or other drugs; States that there is no one at home to provide care

Signs of sexual abuse it’s the following (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology, 2014; Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network [RAINN], 2018a)

  • Has difficulty walking or sitting
  • Experiences bleeding, bruising, or swelling in their private parts
  • Suddenly refuses to go to school
  • Reports nightmares or bedwetting
  • Experiences a sudden change in appetite
  •  Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
  • Becomes pregnant or contracts a sexually transmitted disease, particularly if under age 14 Runs away Reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver
  • Attaches very quickly to strangers or new adults in their environment

Trafficking: (NCMEC)

  • Child has multiple cell phones and/or electronic devices
  • Child has large amounts of cash or pre-paid credit cards
  • Child has no ID, or ID is held by another person
  • Multiple children are present with an unrelated male or female
  • There is evidence the child has been or will be traveling (child is living out of suitcases, at motels, or in a car)
  • Child has a name or symbol tattooed, burned, or branded onto his or her body, particularly when coupled with the child’s reluctance to explain the tattoo, the child’s tattoo matches other children’s tattoos, the tattoo indicates money or ownership (ex. MOB, barcode or $)
  • Child references traveling to other cities or states or is not from the current location
  • The child may also lack knowledge of his or her travel plans, destinations, and/or his or her current location
  • Child has hotel keys, hotel receipts, or other items from a hotel/motel; Presence of an overly controlling or abusive “boyfriend” or older female

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