Who is a Court Appointed Advocate?

A Court Appointed Advocate is a community volunteer who is appointed by a judge to speak up for the child’s interests during a Dependency Proceeding. A Dependency Proceeding is the legal cause the State files when a child is removed from his or her home and placed in the temporary custody of the State in (usually) foster care. Court Appointed Advocates advocate for State-dependent children.

What is the difference between a Court Appointed Advocate (Advocate) and a Guardian ad litem (GAL)?

In Pierce County, a Court Appointed Advocate is a volunteer; a GAL is a full-time employee of the court. Both roles serve the same function under the law. 

How much time each month does the Court Appointed Advocate work take?

This can vary widely. And some cases can swing back and forth between “quiet” phases and “active” phases. On average you can expect to spend 10 hours a month on your case..

How long does a case usually last?

An average of two years. We ask Court Appointed Advocates to commit to advocating for the child for the duration of the case.

Who can be a Court Appointed Advocate?

Court Appointed Advocates must be over 21 years of age; able to pass a criminal background check and CPS history check; a college degree is not required, but is preferred; Court Appointed Advocate applicants are screened and interviewed; applicants must attend 30 hours of training that is also part of the screening process; completing all of these steps does not ensure acceptance into the Child Advocate Program. Our program is committed to empowering youth, families and communities to be able to care for their children.