Citizen Advocacy Organizations

Citizen Advocacy organizations ( Citizen Advocacy programs ) seek to cause benefit by recognizing people. Their practice was defined in two key documents: CAPE [1] in 1980 and Learning from Citizen Advocacy Programs [2] in 1987. The theoretical foundation of Citizen Advocacy is based on Citizen Advocacy and protective services for the impaired and handicapped. [3] (See also Wolf Wolfensberger .) A central idea is that the devaluation of a person or group of people has profoundly negative effects on their lives. [4]Citizen Advocacy organizations seek to challenge this devaluation by connecting a person with a valued person, prompting the community by valuing the devalued person. It is also expected that the ‘valued person’ will be able to (and will be encouraged to) stand up for the rights and interests of the other person. In fact, they will do so so often that they will do so “as if they have been one’s own”. It is seen to be the most important person, the group of people, the group of people, and the community as a whole.

Key ideas

At the heart of the work of a Citizen Advocacy organization is the belief that the society is valued by society (as a whole) affects how society treats them.

If an individual or group is seen as having value then society (as a whole) will treat them well. The result that they will have the full benefit of being part of that society.
If an individual or group is identified by society as ‘different’, and is seen to have less value than everyone else then society will treat them poorly. For instance, they will be disempowered and excluded, made into scapegoats, segregated, and put in touch with each other. [5] [6]

This is not a problem in the context of certain groups of people (often incorrectly) as being somehow fundamentally negatively different from, and of lower value than, ordinary people (for instance ‘the mentally ill’ or ‘people with special needs’ or ‘autistic people’ or ‘asylum seekers’).

Citizen Advocacy organizations seeking to contribute to the benefits of a society. [1] [2] [7] There are some clear immediate effects on the person’s exclusion and sense of self-worth. These goals are also important because they have an important relationship with this person (eg a friendship), and that this value is an equal ‘valued’ person). However, they are likely to be more likely than others to be in their society.

Simplified illustrative example

A Citizen Advocacy organization connects a person labeled ‘ [8] as having a’ learning disability ‘(‘ developmental disability ‘) – his name is Helios – with a person of standing in their local community (for instance a well liked shopkeeper) – whose name is Alex. These two people develop a friendship. Helios and Alex are seen together and other people get to know Helios. Alex and Helios behave friends and describe themselves as friends. While they may be seeking support from the Citizen Advocacy Organization, they are not only about being connected to it, but rather that it is this organization that introduced them.
Helios through Alex, which is of immediate benefit to Helios. When Alex finds out what Helios is living in, he is working with others.
Several people write to the local authorities and politicians to complain about how people with learning disabilities are being treated. Because they are interested in this issue, they ensure that the situation improves.

Stories of actual Citizen Advocacy relationships have been written about many contexts. One set of these stories is found in One person at a time: Citizen Advocacy for people with disabilities. [9]

The challenge of creating real relationships

The desired effects of this work, in all senses, of the naturalness and personal nature of the relationship that the Citizen Advocacy organization is able to create. One of the key challenges for a Citizen Advocacy organization is one of the key challenges to one of the key challenges and one of ‘devalued’. a way which leads to such a relationship.

There are many actions and influences that can undermine these efforts. Problems tends to revolve around existing social expectations for the ‘devalued’ person. A frequent society at large is likely to be able to do so, and it may not be possible – but it may be helped with the services of volunteers. [10]Working in an environment where these expectations are the norm, it becomes easy for organizations to drift towards fitting in with them. An organization may be located where the ‘valued’ person is seen to be a volunteer, to which point the activity has become fundamentally different one. In this case the effects of the work can be devalued (but effectively the ‘volunteer’ in their life).

Sources of confusion and misunderstanding

There are several key sources of misunderstanding and confusion complicating the work of Citizen Advocacy organizations.

The first occurs when the founding ideas of this work are misunderstood. In particular, some people believe (incorrectly) that Citizen Advocacy organizations are based on the idea of ​​value of a person. outside).

A second, somewhat similar, confusion is caused by people misunderstanding what is implied by ‘valued’. For instance, it is sometimes said that the public organizations believe that it is worthwhile, with money, heterosexual and so on. John O’Brien directly contradicts this in the introduction to ‘Learning from Citizen Advocacy Programs’ when he writes:

CA experience shows that people are rich in these valuable capacities of social class, race, sex, and level of formal education. ” [2]

A third misunderstanding arises from the name ‘Citizen Advocacy’ since the word ‘advocacy’ has broad uses. In the UK it is strongly associated with the legal task of representing a person in a court, even more so in Scotland. [11]The task of advocating is one of representing (or supporting) a person so as to ensure that their point of view is heard or their rights upheld. This causes particular confusion because ‘advocating’ is a common action that the ‘valued’ person may undertake.

A fourth misunderstanding arises from the common use of the phrase “one to one relationship” in Citizen Advocacy circles. This was originally used to demonstrate that the ‘valued’ person and ‘devalued’ person were being personally introduced, to be a volunteer to client relationship. In fact, it is hoped that initial introductions by Citizen Advocacy will be made to the devalued and excluded person being re-included and reconnected (ie to many people).

Results of confusion and misunderstanding

Since the creation of the concept of the Citizen Advocacy organization, these misunderstandings have had a number of effects. The key is that many organizations use the title ‘citizen advocacy’ to refer to different forms of activity. For instance alternative activities include:

  • volunteers who are not being heard, and
  • having volunteers act as an artificial ‘friend’ (to help someone with their exclusion).

The first of these activities, but also such organizations in the UK, is used in the context of “independent advocacy” [12] . kind of organization seeks to support people by using volunteers in the long term.

Since these organizations are practicing a different activity in the field of corporate citizenship, they often do not work with their work. [13]

These developments raise questions about the definition of a Citizen Advocacy Organization (program). If the practice of most organizations is not longer than Citizen Advocacy Organizations? Or is it correct to say that the practice of Citizen Advocacy has not changed?

Key principles

The founding principles [1] [2] [3] [13] behind the work of a Citizen Advocacy

  • The benefits to the ‘valued’ person should be personal (ie they benefit from knowing the person they are introduced to, not in other ways). [14] [15]
  • The ‘valued’ person should not see their role as being a volunteer with the organization, but as being in a personal relationship. [14]

There are also the principles of ensuring that the organization is not limited by conflicting interests, and that it is not

  • The organization should be an independent one (financially and structurally).
  • The organization should not be sharing offices with organizations to have conflicting interests.

Further principles include:

  • The office staff should not be affected by problems of the ‘devalued’ individuals, because they are more likely to be used in the building of relationships (with ordinary ‘value’ citizens who themselves – with their own friends and allies – can help the person with these problems). [13]

These are the principles that are currently being assessed and excluded by society. It is Seen That society as a whole will benefit from being white people fully included thesis, [13] and That exclusion OCCURS Because of the social response to groups of people, not Because That individual can not be included.

The work of a Citizen Advocacy is fundamentally different from that of organizations that seek to help people with disabilities and their exclusion and exclusion. Indeed, one of the key reasons that the idea of ​​the citizen advocacy has been created, that is to say that it is a problem of the problem of deviation and exclusion, that is to say, that it is more likely to exclude and devalue people.


  1. ^ Jump up to:c John O’Brien and Wolf Wolfensberger, CAPE Standards for Citizen Advocacy Program Evaluation (1988)
  2. ^ Jump up to:d Learning from Citizen Advocacy Programs (comprenant un revised short form of CAPE), John O’Brien (1987), Georgia Advocacy Office Inc.
  3. ^ Jump up to:b Wolfensberger, W. & Zauha, H. (1973). Citizen advocacy and protective services for the impaired and handicapped. Toronto, ON: National Institute on Mental Retardation.
  4. Jump up^ Wolfensberger, W. (1998). A brief introduction to Social Role Valorization: A high-order concept for addressing the plight of socially devalued people, and for structuring human services (3rd ed.). Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Training Institute for Human Service Planning, Leadership & Change Agentry.
  5. Jump up^ An overview of Social Role Valorization Theory by Joe Osburn
  6. Jump up^ The Diligeo Formulation of SRV, Paul Jenkins,
  7. Jump up^ Advocacy 2000 project, Advocacy 2000 project, Edinburgh Scotland, 2002, p52 (available online Archived2008-10-05 at theWayback Machine.)
  8. Jump up^ The term ‘labeled’ is a common shorthand for the process in which society identifies a group of people as different from one another, and provides a name for that different group. See alsoLabeling theory, andSocial role valorization.
  9. Jump up^ Hildebrand, AJ (2004). One person at a time: Citizen Advocacy for people with disabilities . Newton, MA: Brookline Books. ISBN  978-1-57129-093-9 .
  10. Jump up^ Why it is not necessary nor desirable for Citizen Advocates to receive technical training as a pre-condition to advocacy engagement, by Mitchel Peters, from Inroads, the newsletter of Citizen Advocacy Eastern Suburbs in Perth, Australia (available online Archived2007-09-13 at theWayback Machine.).
  11. Jump up^ Compact Oxford English Dictionary entry for ‘Advocate’, (available online)
  12. Jump up^ Advocacy 2000 project, Edinburgh Scotland, 2002 (available onlineArchived2008-10-05 at theWayback Machine.)
  13. ^ Jump up to:d Assumptions underlying citizen advocacy, Wolf Wolfensberger, 1992 ( available online Archived 2007-09-12 at the Wayback Machine .)
  14. ^ Jump up to:b Standing by Reviews another: the power of personal, unpaid Commitments, by Mitchell Peters from Inroads, the newsletter of ‘Citizen Advocacy Eastern Suburbs’ in Perth, Australia ( available onlineArchived 2007-09-13 at the Wayback Machine .)
  15. Jump up^ Walking the Tightrope: The Intentions of Citizen Advocacy, by Mitchel Peters, from Inroads, the newsletter of ‘Citizen Advocacy Eastern Suburbs’ in Perth, Australia (available online Archived2007-09-13 at theWayback Machine.)

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