The year changes. The ball drops. We tip back a glass of champagne and scribble down some resolutions, some of which we may keep, some of which we may not.
But what resolutions can you make to advocate for your children or the children in your family and community?
1. If you have children, have a will. Find an attorney who can make an air-tight will in your state (if you are in New Jersey, I do them!) that gives guardianship of your children to someone YOU would choose if something should happen to you. Don't let your state's Child Protective Services make the decision of who your child should live with if they lost you.
2. If you do not have children, but wish you did...consider foster parenting. There are many, many children out there so desperately in need of a home where they will be loved and cared for, even if its only for a short time.
3. If you have children in your family, get to know them. So many adult survivors of child abuse will describe how they spent countless hours around family members who did not know they were being hurt. Get to know the children in your family, and let them know that if they have troubles they can come to you.
4. Become a mentor. Studies show that children at risk are greatly benefited by mentors. If there isn't a Big Brothers/Big Sisters or other mentorship program in your area, start one!
5. If you have a child with special needs, get serious! Get involved with the school, the IEP process...if they aren't listening to what your child needs, see an attorney who specializes in education law. Get to know the law and make sure that your child is getting all the services they need and deserve.
6. If you have a child in the public school system, get involved! Vote in local elections, join the P.T.A. (or start one), get to know the teachers that your children are dealing with. Teachers are almost always happy to have parents involved who are concerned about their children and want to know what is going on. Don't worry about bothering the teacher, they want to talk to you about how to help your child succeed!
7. Involved with a church, mosque or synagogue? Make sure your place of worship has information, and even maybe speakers available about child advocacy in your community, or at the least about how to recognize and report child abuse. Likewise, educate members of civic groups you belong to.
8. Educate yourself. Know the signs of child abuse. Know what to do if you see them.
Personal Note: I haven't updated this blog in awhile because I have been busy opening my law firm! The Law Office of Lynda L. Hinkle does family law, education, wills and municipal law. Hopefully, now that we are up and running I will be returning to a regular blogging schedule.