Community Advocacy

What is Community Advocacy?

Many individuals living with a disability often face stigma that make it difficult to integrate themselves into the communities in which they live. Through community advocacy, a CICS advocate partners with your family, community members, and community organizations to ensure their child has the support and ability to become an involved member of their community.  By taking the time to understand your child’s preferences and needs, as well as having extensive knowledge in applicable laws, procedures, and interventions, our advocates can represent the child and family and assist them in a community setting.

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How can it help you?

A community advocate can help by: 

  • Reviewing records and understanding your child’s needs to make informed, individualized recommendations for your child’s participation in their community.
  • Developing strategic plans for both the relevant parties and your family to support your child.
  • Being hired by community members and organizations to train and educate these parties on how to better understand and be more inclusive for your child and others with special needs. 
  • Attending meetings between relevant community members and organizations and your child to advocate for the access to necessary accommodations and resources.

What to expect:

A community advocate will:

  • Ensure the community organizations and members are providing appropriate services and are held accountable as outlined by law*.
  • Provide information to parents if the relevant partners and parents cannot come to an agreement.
  • Ensure appropriate assessments are being used to determine and need.
  • Verify that the plan to involve your child into their community is thorough and based on the needs of your child.
  • Check that your child is benefiting from all available programs.
  • Review that accommodations and resources are being properly utilized.
  • Provide the community in which your child lives a better understanding of how to better accommodate for and meet the needs of your child.

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Additional Information

Our community advocacy solution is $100 per hour and includes virtual consultation, attendance at meetings with organizations assisting with your child’s transition, and correspondence between community members and organizations. Unfortunately, few insurance plans cover community advocacy so CICS offers a cash payment option.

*Please note: while all CICS staff are knowledgeable about laws, we are NOT lawyers. We cannot give legal advice, but can tell you when it’s time to involve a lawyer. There are pro bono attorneys in the Lehigh Valley we can refer you to, including North Penn Legal Services.

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