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The case that I have chosen reveals the situation when a child was obliged to move to another country following her parents. It refers to an individual (case) advocacy (Ezell, 2015). Melinda lived in Canada and had plans for the future connected with this country. She was sure what she wants to achieve and how this can be done. Still, he parents forced her to move to Abu Dhabi with them. As a result, the girl was frustrated and depressed.
Trying to improve the situation, her new teacher asked me (as a CYC student) and the school counselor (my supervisor) to consider the situation and help Melinda. In this way, it can be seen as an internal advocacy. We all represent one facility and have an opportunity to obtain relevant information in time. It was an uninstructed advocacy from the very beginning, as we considered the situation with the teacher and did not engage Melinda in our discussions (Herbert & Eaton-Erickson, 2011). However, the situation changed with the course of time.
Being contacted by a staff person, I was to be involved in this case. First of all, I investigated the situation to be sure that the problem really exists. I had several conversations with the teachers and Melinda to receive as much information as possible. As it turned out, the rights of the child were really offended: “Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child): When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account” (A summary of the rights, n.d., p. 2).
According to Article 12, the counselor and I were to explain to Melinda’s parents that Melinda deserved to have her own opinion on the subject. If she were unreasonable, her parents should explain to her why they are moving, and explain to her that they are not doing this to ruin her life. We provided advice and connected this family, used negotiation and informal dispute resolution to cope with this problem (Child and Youth Officer, 2005). We monitored the situation to be sure that the interventions worked (Whitehead, Bala, Leschied, & Chiodo, 2004). The relationships between the girl and her parents were in our focus.
Trying to find the solution, I connected different people. First of all, these were teachers from the school where I work, and Melinda receives the education. The girl was just the second entity to whom I referred because her teacher was the person who asked for help. Then, I involved Melinda’s parents in this process. Of course, all this time, I cooperated with the school counselor. My supervisor assisted me greatly and gave an opportunity to show my best. As the issue did not move beyond the school and Melinda’s home, the learning facility where I work was the only involved institution.
Barriers to Change
Unfortunately, it was not very easy to implement all interventions and receive a positive outcome. The school counselor and I faced several barriers on the way to change. Mainly, the problem resides in the fact that the adults did not see any infringement in the situation, as Melinda was too young to have an opportunity to stay in Canada on her own. The society supports the view that parents should be obeyed, so everything was done in a right manner. It was rather difficult to make them realize that Melinda would feel much better if she participated in the decision-making process and her opinion was taken into consideration along with the arguments presented by the parents.
Luckily, the problem was solved. Through communication with Melinda and her parents, I made them consider how each of them felt in the occurred situation. It was hard, but the adults admitted that their actions were selfish, and they should have asked the girl’s opinion. Even though she was still not able to change the course of actions, Melinda was not frustrated because of the lack of family’s support. The parents apologized for treating her as a person who has no rights to make a decision related to such critical issue as a move. They explained the necessity of leaving Canada and promised to improve their relations.
The issue occurred because Melinda grew up rather quickly and her parents did not realize it. The girl was rather mature, but she was still treated like a little child who is not able to understand the complexity of the situation and is not supposed to be involved in the process of making vital decisions. The parents refused to accept Melinda’s intentions to enter a particular high school and university seriously and believed that she can make new friends in Aby Dhabi without any problems.
They thought that all plans at this age are just childish dreams that will change with the course of time. It turned out to be extremely advantageous that the teachers of this school are so concerned about their students. Otherwise, Melinda’s condition would become would become worse as well as her behavior and relations with others.
A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (n.d.). Web.
Child and Youth Officer. (2005). Speak up and be heard: Steps to effective advocacy. Web.
Ezell, M. (2015). Advocacy in the human services. The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 29(2), 181-183.
Herbert, M., & Eaton-Erickson, A. (2011). Standing up for kids. Web.
Whitehead, P., Bala, N., Leschied, A., & Chiodo, D. (2004). A new model for child & youth advocacy in Ontario. Web.