August 24, 2018

Parent Navigators: Family Advocacy in the Juvenile Courts

Ubuntu’s 2018 report, Families Fighting for Youth Justice, demonstrated the several ongoing issues in the juvenile courts: lack of communication, lack of respect for families, and lack of meaningful rehabilitative programming. Ubuntu has long provided one-on-one advocacy and support for families navigating the court process.

We have successfully established the Parent Navigator Program at the Juvenile Court. Two Parent Navigators are present to orient parents, facilitate communication between parents and other stakeholders, and provide one-on-one support for all families who request it. Our parent navigators are parents who have traversed the system themselves, trained by Ubuntu to be peer educators.

As part of a national model for parent participation, this program:

  • Empowers parents to successfully advocate for their children and participate in their children’s plan
  • Expedites the court docket to avoid unnecessary delays
  • Creates trust between the community and the courts
  • Gives parents job skills that will allow them to compete for positions that involve public speaking and facilitation