A Court Appointed Advocate (Advocate) is a trained volunteer who is appointed by a judge to advocate for a child, or children, in Dependency court. A Court Appointed Advocate is an independent voice for the child’s best interests throughout the time the child is in care (usually about 2 years). Court Appointed Advocate duties fall into the following four areas:
Independently gathers information about the circumstances of the child’s case. The Advocate communicates and builds relationships with the child, family, caregivers, teachers, service providers and other involved persons.
Monitors court orders and brings to the court’s attention any changes that are necessary for the child and family. Ensures that the process is working for the child’s best interest.
Advocates for the child’s best interest and for the child and family to receive the support and services they need. Ensures that the child’s wants and needs are heard. Facilitates communication between involved persons so that the case moves forward timely and with the child at the center of all decisions.
Maintains regular contact with involved persons so that fact-based recommendations are made. Presents information to the court and recommends a plan representative of the child’s best interest. Prepares a written report, which becomes a permanent part of the case record and is guided by the Guardian ad Litem rules and the highest ethical standards to ensure that no child is lost in the system.
The goal for every child in a Dependency Proceeding is to find a permanent, safe home as quickly as possible; that is often found in a return to the parents, but sometimes it means some other legal arrangement by family, suitable others or foster care.
Become a Court Appointed Advocate!!