A family advocate works with families and children to facilitate community-affiliated resources and support. He or she plays an important role in helping agencies, schools and government programs connect with children and families who require assistance from support services.
Typically, a family advocate serves as a liaison between families and government agencies, such as child welfare agencies and family service organizations. The basic responsibility of a family advocate is to determine which child or family needs assistance or crises prevention, and then enroll them into established programs to help them obtain the right services. Mostly, family advocates work with schools to communicate each enrolled child’s needs and assist the institution in providing him or her the tools that are required to help in succeeding in the long run.
A bachelor’s degree in human services, human development, social work or child development is required to work as a family advocate. In addition to this degree, it is important for people hoping to acquire the position of a family advocate to be patient, possess great communication and interpersonal skills, be well-organized, and have it in them to be able to handle difficult situations. Knowledge of community resources and referral experience assisting families in need of services, are two areas that will come in handy when applying for work as a family advocate.
• Identify children and families requiring advocacy services by contacting different agencies and educational institutes
• Engage families and children in conversation to determine their specific needs for social and community services
• Match determined requirements with the services that established programs offer, in a bid to decipher eligibility criteria
• Recruit families and children in pre-established assistance programs, aiming to help them acquire needed services and facilities
• Individualize one on one and group activities to effectively reflect the unique requirements of and strengths each participants
• Encourage experimentation and exploration amongst participants, focusing on inspiring them to make the best of provided services
• Handle completion of new intakes and handle recertification paperwork for all returning children and families
• Create and maintain contact with families, striving to create a strong and positive support system for them
• Offer crises intervention to ensure the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of all involved participants
• Develop local and community partnerships to maintain resources for families, including housing, education, welfare, health and legal services
• Contact families (particularly parents) to interest and motivate them in attending meetings and trainings that will help them and their children in accessing community and other services