A Child Advocate Volunteer Attorney with the Support Center for Child Advocates (Child Advocates) works as part of a team with a Child Advocates social worker to provide legal representation and social service advocacy to an abused/neglected child or sibling group in Philadelphia County.
Prior to receiving a case, all those interested in becoming a Child Advocate Volunteer
- Have an active license to practice law in Pennsylvania.
- Attend the full-day training “How to Handle a Child Abuse Case.”
- Attend courtroom observation.
- Complete and submit all necessary clearances, including: Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check, Pennsylvania ChildLine Child Abuse History Clearance and FBI Criminal History Clearance or Disclosure Statement (2016 CLEARANCE INSTRUCTIONS ).
- Have the capacity to receive case related phone calls, e-mail and regular mail.
- Be willing to work collaboratively with a Child Advocates social worker.
- Have the ability to advocate in court on behalf of a child.
- Be eager to work with children.
- Have an interest in working with diverse populations.
During the course of representation, Child Advocate Volunteer Attorney’s responsibilities include:
- Attend all court hearings (every 3 months).
- Attend all home visits (approximately 4 times a year).
- Attend meetings concerning the child at agencies, schools and other locations where the child receives services.
- Make telephone calls to parties and professionals to assess needs of the family and to ensure the implementation of appropriate services.
- Review school, DHS, DA and other agency records and files pertaining to the child.
- File petitions and other legal documents on the child’s behalf.
The duration of cases vary. A typical case could last approximately 2 – 3 years. Child Advocate Volunteer Attorneys are encouraged to represent the child throughout the duration of the case. The hours vary according to the needs of the child and the status of the child’s case. Child Advocates estimates that most volunteers spend approximately 2 to 10 hours a month or 40 to 50 hours a year representing a child.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Jodi E. Schatz, Esq.
Director of Intake and Pro Bono Services