A child advocate may work with a support services organization, a government department or even in a personal capacity, depending on his or her specific interests. Working as a child advocate is quite a challenging job as one has to delve deep into problems that children are facing, often coming heads on with disturbing facts. Being emotional never works. If you are thinking of taking up this work as a profession, you have to be clearheaded all the time, and possess the ability to stay non-judgmental in certain cases.
Usually, a bachelor’s degree in social services or a related field is sufficient to work as a child advocate. In addition to the degree, you will need to be knowledgeable about multiple child-serving systems and institutes, along with possessing a great ability to communicate with people. Listening and verbal skills are of great importance in this work. At times, child advocates have to intervene in crises situations or handle problematic circumstances with great diplomacy, which is why it is recommended that you practice your self-control and ability to think clearly in a problematic situation, before you deem yourself eligible for this job.
As a child advocate, you will be in constant touch with external agencies that provide services such as child care, safe housing, substance abuse assistance and parental training. Some of the main duties that you will perform in this role include:
• Look through the history of each assigned case to determine possible challenges and limitations
• Contact assigned clients to schedule meetings with them and ensure that follow-up reminders are provided
• Meet with children and engage them in conversation to determine their backgrounds, including histories of abuse and / or neglect
• Interview parents, family friends, teachers and physicians to determine or verify children’s aptitudes and attitudes
• Observe children in various situations and social settings to determine how they react and behave with other people
• Identify problems such as bad behavior, abuse and neglect and create reports to present to the authorities
• Create and implement intervention plans, aimed at saving children from morbid or harmful circumstances
• As and when instructed, report findings in the court of law, by providing them with interview summaries and copies of records gathered through investigation processes
• Provide counseling to children and their families, and arrange for external support services such as assistance with substance abuse, child care provision, prenatal care, support in finding jobs, and parental training