Did you know it’s National Social Work Month? The 2018 theme for National Social Work Month is “Leaders. Advocates. Champions.” Let’s focus on the word “Advocates.” What exactly does it mean to be an advocate? Advocate, as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary is one who pleads the cause of another. The definition alone is powerful, but when a person puts advocacy into action, especially for children and youth, that’s when lives are impacted and the world can be changed for the better. Read below for a better understanding of the duties of child advocates and how their work ultimately helps to positively change the course of the future, because children are the future after all. 

Some of the duties of a Child advocate might include:

Assessment of child and family

Communication of child’s needs, medical and social history

Practical assistance to family

Working with family to make sure child is appropriately screened for special needs

Creating Rapport between family, child and Child Advocate

Involving family in all aspects of placement

Facilitating visits for child with family, relatives and siblings based on court ordered visitation

Tracking of child’s case within state adoption/foster care database.

Attend all court hearings and make recommendations to judge

How This Job Services Human Beings

The Child Advocate performs a vital role for children who have entered into the Child Welfare system. By working diligently to find, assess and prepare a family for a child’s placement the Child Advocate prepares the way for a new chapter in the child’s life. The function performed by the Child Advocate is crucial for both children and their potential adoptive and foster families. When performing at a high level, the Child Advocate is creating a safe haven and second chance at life for a child who had previously been caught in tragic circumstances. It is a precious gift the Child Advocate bestows on both families and children, that of a loving union of family.

Impact a Child Advocate Has on Society

The work of a Child Advocate has a profound impact on society, the child and the family.

Among the benefits to society are:

Decreasing drop-out rates

Increasing test scores

Creating better school environments

Decreasing Juvenile crime rates

Decreasing costs of children in the system through adoptive placement

Impact on the Child

The impact of the Child Advocate on the life of the child is nothing short of miraculous. By taking a child who had previously been in an abusive situation and had become a ward of the state and placing them with a family, the Child Advocate gives the child the gift of a new chance in life. It is impossible to overstate the tremendous impact a Child Advocate has on a child. Few jobs have more impact on the individual than the Child Advocate has on the child.

Impact on the Family

The Child Advocate facilitates the assessment, rapport building and placement of a child with an adoptive family. The gift of a new child to brighten the home and bring joy to the new parents is truly something special. For some couples, the adoption of a child is the only way they can have children. The placement of a unique and special being in the form of a brand new member of the family will have a lifetime impact on an adoptive family. Few jobs have a bigger impact on families than that of the Child Advocate.

*Excerpt from https://www.humanservicesedu.org/child-advocate.html