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Making an Impact: Representing the Family Voice on Committees and Advisory Councils.

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Presentation on theme: "Making an Impact: Representing the Family Voice on Committees and Advisory Councils."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making an Impact: Representing the Family Voice on Committees and Advisory Councils

2 What is the goal of strong family voices? Shared leadershipShared leadership Families driving the system, not just commenting on itFamilies driving the system, not just commenting on it Family experiences shaping the system from the ground up, not at the edgesFamily experiences shaping the system from the ground up, not at the edges Other reasons?Other reasons?

3 The Parents’ Voice! Advisory Committees Task Forces Councils

4 Value of partnership Think of a time when you had a successful partnership to accomplish your goals… What did you bring to the partnership? –What did your partner bring? –How did you know it was working? –What were/are the benefits of working with someone as opposed to working on your own?

5 Why have committees/councils? Provide specialized expertise that may be missing from staff Serve as ambassadors, building bridges into the community Survey the need for enhancing existing activities Bring in resources Conduct evaluation and oversight activities

6 Functions of Councils Help maintain accountability or meet demands of external constituents Bring in outside support and expertise, linking the program to everything from grassroots community concerns to celebrities and potential funders

7 Ground Rules for Participation Focus on learning with and from each other Be open in sharing with peers without fear of judgment Stay curious; then move towards solutions Identify yourself each time before speaking Wait for speaker to finish before you speak

8 Token vs. Meaningful Participation No preparation or information given prior to participation No meaningful role in meeting or forum Often one time only participation Professionals talk “around you” using acronyms and terminology unfamiliar to you Adequate notice of the meeting and material supports are provided to assist with your attendance Materials and/or an orientation is provided prior to the meeting Your input is valued and individuals work with you to clarify terminology, systems and policies that you may be unfamiliar with Follow-up is provided

9 Common Pitfalls Lack of clarity of purpose, role or scope Lack of awareness of overall mission Unclear expectations of individual members Lack of leadership, support from key staff Improper or inappropriate composition

10 Common Pitfalls Haphazard recruitment process Lack of clarity, interaction with the governing or appointing authority Underutilizing of individual members Advisory Council overstepping its role Absence of orientation, continuing education Others?

11 Roles Program creation & planning Development of program policy Planning & implementing public relations Funding leadership Subcommittees

12 Other Roles Helping to write & review materials Helping develop a strategic plan Assessing organizational performance Organizing special activities Identifying needs & needed services Cultural guides/brokers

13 Am I ready to serve? Am I able to set aside the needs of my own child and look at the “big picture”? Would my feelings (such as anger or anxiety or sadness) make me less effective than I’d want to be? Can I set aside my own emotional issues?

14 Am I ready to serve? Is it a good use of my skills and time? What talents or strengths could I bring to this group? Can I commit the necessary time? Could my participation make a difference for children and families?

15 Becoming an effective participant Ask yourself if you feel welcome there. If not, what can you do to improve the situation? Be willing to listen at first. Learn about the people, the issues, programs, and background information before offering advice or opinions.

16 Becoming an effective participant Be willing to say, “I don’t know yet” or “I need more information to comment on that issue.” Ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If acronyms are used, ask if there is a list of acronyms and definitions. Ask where you can find information covered at a previous meeting.

17 Becoming an effective participant Learn all you can about your agency/institution’s structure, policy, and administration. Do your homework. Read materials provided to participants. Come prepared to contribute. Develop an understanding of the “big picture” issues facing the agency/ institution, beyond those of your own child and family.

18 Opportunities to Learn Helps keep Advisory Board/Committee members active & motivated Improves the quality of their contributions Gives them additional skills that can benefit them in other areas of their lives

19 “Rules for Governance” How will the Advisory board/committee govern itself? Will there be officers? Committee chairs? How will decisions be reached? Consensus? Vote? What to do if there are conflicts of interest? How active must one be to remain on the Advisory Board/committee?

20 “Rules for Governance” Application form? Who sets the agenda? How do new items get added? When & how are meeting notices & minutes sent out? What is the impact of an Advisory Board/ committee decision?

21 Common Ground Rules Encourage the group to look at its mission statement (if one exists) and answer these questions: –Does it provide direction for the group? –Is it clear? –Is there a need to write or rewrite a mission statement?

22 Common Ground Rules Help clarify expectations. Do members expect only to give advice, or do some also expect the advice to be followed? How do members feel about this? Do expectations need to be examined or made clearer? Be sure members treat each other respectfully. Do parents listen to each other’s unique perception and experience?

23 Common Ground Rules Be sure that meetings are run in a timely, organized way. Making and following an agenda is effective. Support productive decision making. Are conclusions reached by consensus, or do discussions continue with no resolution or closure?

24 Common Ground Rules One person at a time Listen to others No mocking or attacking Be on time Respect each other

25 Shared leadership is important because: Multiple perspectives & diverse strengths and talents are combined to achieve goals Families know how systems really work “on the ground”

26 We learn leadership in many ways Learn from others who serve as role models Learn from formal training “Just do it”

27 Practices of Exemplary Leadership I. Challenging the process II. Inspiring a shared vision III. Enabling others to act IV. Modeling the Way V. Encouraging the heart How have you demonstrated exemplary leadership?

28 Your Leadership Roles What committees, advisory groups, or boards do you participate on? How have you already been working to improve systems for children and families?

29 Telling the real deal Based on your personal experience with child & family-serving systems (education, health, mental health, child welfare) What’s working? What’s not working? How do the systems intersect well? How do they break down? What one thing could make it better?

30 What can you do? Individual family capacity-building –Promoting community education –Educating providers –Fostering coalitions & networks –Changing organizational practices –Influencing policy & legislation

31 You as a leader in family strengthening What are your strengths? What is the one thing you can most contribute as a leader in family strengthening? –Think about your communication skills, your ability to develop team spirit, to bring people together, your ability to problem solve, to see new solutions, your capacity to inspire others. What will you do next week?

32 THANK YOU!


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