What is a Child Advocate?
A child advocate helps the social and psychological well-being of children and their families. They are usually appointed to cases by the criminal justice system and work with cases of neglect and abuse. They work with the authorities and the courts to ensure the child receives the best care possible.
Responsibilities of a Child Advocate
Child advocates work with children and speak on their behalf within the criminal justice system of children. They are typically appointed to work with children who are victims of abuse and/or neglect. They investigate cases, report findings to authorities or the court and address legal issues that may arise regarding child abuse or custody. In addition, they provide counseling for the child, his or her family family and arrange support services.
A child advocate must have strong communication, problem-solving and organization skills and be able to empathize with their clients. They may assist with adoption, foster care and alleviating psychological and physical health risks. Additionally, they may ultimately improve a child’s academic performance and reduce school dropout rates.
Generally, a child advocate works full time in an office environment, but he or she may travel to visit clients and may be required to work evenings, weekends and holidays. They may also have large caseloads, causing the work to be stressful.
Want to become a Child Advocate?Explore Degree
Child Advocate Salary Details
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups child advocates under social workers. The median annual salary for child, family and school social workers was $44,380 as of May 2017. The demand for child advocates will increase as they are needed to collaborate with families to strengthen parenting skills, determine homes for children who cannot reside with their biological families and prevent child abuse. The BLS projects that employment for this career field will grow 14 percent through 2026.
Education Requirements for a Child Advocate
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for becoming a child advocate. Sometimes, candidates who decide to further advance their careers pursue a master’s degree, which is preferable among many organizations. Almost all degrees require the completion of fieldwork. Licensure or certification requirements vary by state.
The online human services degree from Southeastern University gives students the skills needed to make a difference in the lives they serve within their communities. Students learn how to connect those in need with sources of aid and assistance, as well as case management, human diversity and conflict resolution. Upon graduation, they will be qualified to work in environments such as clinics, homeless shelters, nursing homes and community organizations.