Children are the most vulnerable beings on earth across all nations. It has been statistically shown that there is a high rate of reported cases of child abuse and abandonment. In addition, there are more numbers of children who are falling victims to abuse, neglect, psychological harm lastly, sexual abuse. Therefore, that when those who have a career in child advocacy came into play. This passage covers the full description of what it is to be a child advocate.
What is Child Advocate?
When unpacking on a child advocate, it can be understood as an individual who is in occupation of care and representation of a child during what may be the legal proceedings, which may consist of the family dispute, welfare, delinquencies, and even cases of abuse. When referring to a child, we are looking at a minor person under 18 ordained by the constitution. The child advocate came in to play to always speak for the child’s interest in a situation where the children’s right is not being administered. The ultimate reason for that is the vow that the child advocate makes to protect the right of the child not to be violated, which may be from a family member or the community. To work as the child advocate, you become the child’s voice on the matters that are seen to be of effect on their lives.
The Duties of the Child Advocate
The child advocate will be in attending many cases at once, which will ensure the welfare and safety of each child case. In addition, child advocates are expected to be working on the child’s assignment for numerous days with the provision of helping to foster children during the course of their upbringing and teenage years, which encompasses a wide variety of supervision and advocacy duties. The other primary responsibilities child advocates have included:
- Helping in the provision of the child with state-sponsored medical aid.
- Assisting with the temporary housing and transportation.
- Browsing to find the children with special needs.
- Addresses the issues of mental health, education, and legal issues that are faced with the minor.
- Varying to the case, the child advocate needs to assist according to the specifics of the child case, which perchance be rehabilitation, psychological therapy, etc.
- Child advocates will be required to work with the child’s parents with special needs living with disabilities.
- Educating the child with life skills.
- Help with the falling of paperwork during the process of adoption.
- Accompanying the clients to court and testifying if needed.
- Identifying at-risk children to provide help to them.
Skills Requires to be Child Advocate
- Organization skills are required, having the ability to organize yourself, because child advocates will be dealing with more than one case at a time. So So I need to be able to find balance.
- Decision-making is required. One must have the ability to decide where the client’s interim home will be or should the client be reunited with the family and lastly, is the environment conducive enough for the child.
- Crisis management is required. I need to have the ability to be calm in all situations and not be overwhelmed with emotions and be able to work under pressure.
- Attention to detail is required. The ability to be a critical thinker will lead you a long way in dealing with the child. They are not vocally expressive beings. However, body language is their communicative ability.
- Counseling is required. Knowing how to deal with a child who has been through abuse, neglect, etc., comes in handy to help a child deal with trauma.
Steps to Become Child Advocate
- Step 1. Spending time with the children. To become a child advocate, one needs to have advanced experience working with children. It’s vital for people entering the platform of child advocacy to love the children and ideas of what a happy child is like and should be like. Gaining that experience, volunteering in places where the environment allows you to work with kids will help you ascertain if you find pleasure working around children as a full-time job. In addition, the experience in babysitting can assist you in discovering ways to interact with children of all ages and have insight into their needs.
- Step 2. Get a bachelor’s degree associated with social work in applying for the program related to social work, which may be psychology, early child development, education, health, anthropology, and human sciences. In the undergraduate phase, the students must conduct independent research and completely practical to have experience in analyzing real case studies.
- Step 3. Have a Masters’s. Depending on which state you are working in, you may be required to have a master’s degree for you to be licensed as a practicing child advocate or a social worker. During the master’s program, you will be learning about abuse, neglect, and how to see the signs to a child who has been illtreated. You will also learn about the child in the legal system and how to deal with family crises. Thus, completing your masters and become licensed.
- Step 4. Apply for child advocacy roles. After obtaining your license in the field, you must apply to the organization dealing with child advocacy. Again, depending on the specialization you provide, you search for the departments or sectors you are more inclined to.
According to career trend.com, in the United States, the average salary for a child advocate varies, estimated at $30 699 annually. However, the salaries do increase depending on the specialization that a person has in the field of welfare, and the position one has, the higher the ranking, the higher the salary. Nevertheless, the experience in the field also gives you more pay and includes the benefit. The gross salaries of the child advocacy increase over the period of time by 13%, which is listed as the fastest-growing, and the most demanded jobs in the country. This then varies on to volunteer, which makes the minimum estimate of $ 10 000 annually.