6 Things to do TODAY to Speak Up for Children: Highlights from SCAN’s 6th Annual Advocacy Training

With the 2018 General Assembly Session just a month away, it’s a critical time for advocates to start speaking up for children and families in Northern Virginia. We recently hosted our 6th Annual “Speak Up for Children” Advocacy Day to help community members prepare. With generous support from Verizon, we welcomed Prevent Child Abuse Virginia and Voices for Virginia’s Children to help guide a day-long discussion of advocacy tactics, legislative updates and policy priorities for the year ahead.

PCAV’s Johanna Schuchert kicked off the training with an “Advocacy 101” segment – covering how the legislative process works and how to make sure your voice is heard during the process.

1. Download these helpful “Educating Your Legislators” Tips from PCAV.

It was especially helpful to hear directly from legislators and staff – including Del. David Bulova, Delegate Mark Levine’s Chief of Staff Steven Marku, and Senator Jennifer Wexton – that they desperately want to hear from human service providers who are familiar with and passionate about current issues, including sexual misconduct in schools, substance-exposed infants and Erin’s Law.

“It’s so important for you to react to the issues that matter to you,” noted Del. Bulova. “Legislators are busy. We rely on you to inform us and work with us to make the best decisions.”

2. Find your legislator here.

Part of advocacy is being aware of the scope of problems in the community. Voices’ Mary Beth Testa offered an excellent “State of the Child” presentation. She provided links to statistics—including the fact that 19% of children in Virginia have experienced 2+ traumatic experiences—that can also be found here.

3. Take Mary Beth’s action steps this month:
a. Call your Senators about reauthorizing #CHIP.
b. Sign the statement supporting Fairfax County’s effort to be a trauma-informed community.
c. Join Voices for a call on 12/19 to review governor’s budget proposal (more info below.)

NBC4 investigative reporter Scott MacFarlane and producer Rick Yarborough also joined the discussion to share their work covering sexual misconduct in local schools, with excellent insight from expert Dr. Charol Shakeshaft from Virginia Commonwealth University.

4. Watch Scott’s NBC4 investigative report here.

“The most important thing we can do to prevent child sexual abuse in schools is training,” noted Dr. Shakeshaft, “particularly boundary training to let adults know what it means to cross a line with a student, how it happens, and how to see it.”

5. Consider having SCAN provide child sexual abuse prevention training through our partnership with Darkness to Light. Learn more here.

Advocacy Day ended with a focus on substance exposed infants and legislative issues related to the crisis. Thanks to panel members from Inova Hospital, Fairfax County DFS, Loudoun MHSADS and the Fairfax Falls Church CSB, attendees (and legislators) left with both sobering statistics and renewed energy to take action on the issue.

“We are vastly underestimating the problem – and the impact – of substance exposed infants. It’s not just about substances passed on during pregnancy—it’s a question of ACEs, trauma and continued effects after bringing baby home.”

6. Learn more about the Voices Legislative Agenda – including substance exposed infants and trauma – in their webinar on Tuesday, December 19th at 1:00 PM. Simply bookmark THIS LINK and join the discussion next week!



On November 16th, a Chance to Hone Your Advocacy Skills

For individuals committed to the well-being of Northern Virginia’s children and families, SCAN’s 6th Annual “Speak Up for Children” Advocacy Training event — made possible by Verizon — is a unique opportunity to learn more about a legislative process that impacts both how children and families receive care, as well as the institutions that deliver said care. In reviewing the legislative process and engaging with elected officials, Advocacy Day participants develop a better understanding of how to be an effective advocate for vulnerable children and families.

While Northern Virginia families face a variety of challenges, this year’s Advocacy Day highlights two key issues: Virginia’s need to reduce the incidence of substance exposed infants and closing the teacher licensing loophole in relation to child sexual abuse. Special guests will include:

• Delegate David Bulova
• Delegate Mark Levine
• Delegate Kenneth Plum
• NBC4 Investigative Reporter Scott McFarlane
• Charol Shakeshaft, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University
Prevent Child Abuse Virginia‘s Johanna Schuchert
Voices for Virginia’s Children

By joining SCAN at Advocacy Day 2017, participants will be empowered to contribute to the collaborative message and region-wide efforts to support our community’s most vulnerable families and children.Register here. 
(Be sure to follow the event on social media on 11/16 using #speakupforchildren!)

NEWS: SCAN and PCAV to Host Advocacy Day Training on Nov. 18

October 18, 2016

14657507_10154081313970735_7034637525329542210_nOn Friday, November 18th, SCAN will partner with Prevent Child Abuse Virginia to host our 5th Annual “Speak Up for Children” Training for Virginia Advocates. Participants will better understand the legislative process and learn how to be an effective advocate. They’ll also hear policy advocates and legislators discuss some of the key issues affecting vulnerable children and families which will be on the agenda in the upcoming Virginia General Assembly session. #speakupforchildren

Please click here to register!

Learn more about the event on Facebook here.