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Solution-focused approach to pressing social issues


Citizen Advocates is a forward-looking and inclusive thought leader, which unequivocally endorses equity, civil liberty and social justice. We believe it is our responsibility to promote awareness and advocate for the perspectives and beliefs we hold true. Our words are always accompanied by helpful information and action-oriented steps to bring about the change we wish to see in the world around us.

Following are several of the pressing issues of our day, and where our organization sees a path forward with a solution-focused position.

  • Gun Violence   
    • Citizen Advocates’ stance – Gun violence is an epidemic in America. Blaming gun violence on any one cause, including mental illness, distracts from the need for a comprehensive solution.  Behavioral health providers can play a role in addressing this national epidemic through advocacy and innovative clinical support. At Citizen Advocates, we provide crisis services through an open access model to anyone considering harm to themselves or others. Citizen Advocates urges broad adoption of red flag laws, increased scrutiny for those purchasing handguns and outright bans on the sale of high capacity and automatic weapons. 
  • Opioid Crisis 
    • Citizen Advocates’ stance – Every American is paying the price of the opioid crisis. Citizen Advocates recognizes that the opioid crisis is not caused by moral failings of those suffering from addiction. Rather, the greatest cause is the predatory sale and prolific promotion of synthetic opioids by pharmaceutical companies. We can begin to heal as a nation from this epidemic by advocating for legislation that directs all profits from the sale of synthetic and natural opiates to be redistributed to behavioral health providers. By eliminating the pharmaceutical industry’s ability to profit on these drugs we may eventually see the interest in manufacturing start to wane. In addition, and until then, the funding will lead to the expansion of innovative federal programs that have already begun to put many individuals on a path to recovery. Citizen Advocates has 24/7 treatment options throughout the North Country to meet individuals at any step in their journey when they may have nowhere else to turn.
  • Abortion Rights
    • Citizen Advocates’ stance A women’s right to choose is a healthcare decision. No one should be denied the right to make their own healthcare decisions, regardless of the state in which they live.
  • Inflation
    • Citizen Advocates’ stance – Economic forces do not affect all people equally. Many North Country individuals and families are living at or below the federal poverty level and have been highly impacted by inflation.  Those same individuals make up about two-thirds of the Citizen Advocates workforce. Citizen Advocates supports its employees through a total rewards package that proactively adjusted wages for cost-of-living increases, offers tuition assistance, financial support and resources to pursue one of dozens of career paths available within the organization and provides a premium benefits package.
  • Environmental Advocacy
    • Citizen Advocates’ stance – Pollution and climate change are impacting our daily lives. Citizen Advocates believes access to clean air, clean water and a sustainable environment is a human right.  We are committed to environmental justice. Citizen Advocates supports legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting environmental justice. Locally,Citizen Advocates has launched initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint. Additionally, we recognize our global, regional and local environment as a stakeholder during planning and decision-making and consider the environmental impact of operating our business.  
  • Pride
    • Citizen Advocates’ stance – All individuals have a fundamental right to equitable and fair treatment.  Citizen Advocates was founded on the belief that vulnerable individuals have the right to live a life of their choosing, and this remains true today.  Our communities are increasing in diversity, and Citizen Advocates will respond in practice and policy to ensure all individuals are made to feel welcome and comfortable expressing their authentic self, to live as they choose and love whomever they choose. 
  • Work Life Balance
    • Citizen Advocates’ stance – Employers and employees need flexible approaches to work-life balance. When employees are happy and balanced, they are more productive and are more likely to stay in their jobs or at their organization.Citizen Advocates doesn’t think it’s enough to prioritize wages, professional development, and total rewards. The organization has committed to flexible work schedules, remote or hybrid work opportunities, and a generous PTO package.  Continuing this approach allows the employee to build a career around their life, rather than a life around their career.
  • What We Learned from the Pandemic
    • Citizen Advocates’ stance –The COVID-19 pandemic pushed us to our best, and worst.  Countless lives were upended, and existing shortcomings with our national healthcare system were greatly magnified.  Some things we learned, and some things served as important reminders. We are reminded that vaccines work, and that there continue to be disparities in healthcare outcomes for racial and ethnic minority groups. We learned how to be creative, and in many cases accelerated innovations that have provided immediate benefits to our employees and the people we support. Citizen Advocates remained nimble in its approach to providing services through leveraging telehealth options that remain in place even beyond the pandemic. The people we support now have the option to continue utilizing telehealth or return to in-person services. As an employer, we have embraced remote work options and offered additional flexibility to our employees.
  • Prayer in School  
    • Citizen Advocates’ stance – As enshrined in our First Amendment, separation of church and state is necessary for a free and democratic society. Public schools are state institutions, where all students and staff should be free from religious influence, endorsement, or coercion. Religious liberty means the freedom to practice your individual beliefs so long as they do not interfere with the freedom of others, including freedom from religion. Citizen Advocates is committed to creating a culture that promotes inclusion and belonging for its employees and people we support.
  • Police Reform – Where is it now? 
    • Citizen Advocates’ stanceRacism and discrimination are deeply rooted in American history to the extent that systemic racism is an underlying cause of racially disparate policing outcomes. Disproportionate conviction, incarceration and recidivism rates for black people and people of color demonstrate this problem. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 introduced meaningful police reform. The bill included limitations on unnecessary use of force, no-knock warrants, and required training on implicit bias, racial profiling, and the duty to intervene when another officer is using excessive force. Disappointingly, Congress ultimately failed to pass the bill. For now, police reform remains a local issue. In 2020, because of its reputation as a thought leader and long history of working with marginalized populations, Citizen Advocates partnered with local law enforcement in developing their police reform report and gave a standing offer to be part of the solution moving forward.
  • Critical Race Theory
    • Citizen Advocates’ stanceCritical race theory was intended to be a scholarly lens through which to view public and institutional policy in the US; it has become weaponized and demonized for political gain. CRT is not an evil scheme devised to subvert our government or promote violence. CRT asks us to confront uncomfortable truths about our nation’s history of enslavement and racism, and how these things continue to infect our institutions. It is not simply a matter of prejudice, but of structured disadvantages for black people and people of color. CRT asks us to fully realize the profound and lasting influence of race and race relations on the development of our socioeconomic and legal systems that continue to this day.  It is a concept and part of a larger cultural movement to end racism in our society and become the best version of ourselves. Citizen Advocates prides itself on being a change agent and creating an inclusive and equitable workplace culture. Our employees are required to complete training on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging that includes practical skills for overcoming conscious and unconscious bias.
  •   Black Lives Matter
    • Citizen Advocates’ stanceBLM is an important social movement that condemns the unjust killings of Black people by police and seeks an end to state-sanctioned violence.  The BLM movement demands society value the lives and humanity of Black people as much as it values the lives and humanity of white people. In a society where Black people are often stigmatized, marginalized, and discriminated against, Black Lives Matter simply recognizes Black lives matter, too. Citizen Advocates prides itself on being a change agent and creating an inclusive and equitable workplace culture. Our employees are required to complete training on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging that includes practical skills for overcoming conscious and unconscious bias.