Feb 04 2016
By Steven Olender
It can be difficult for us to define what we mean when we say that someone "advocates" for a child. When we think of "advocacy" we often think of political lobbying or campaigning door to door, but the work that Court Appointed Special Advocates do for children in the child welfare system is different and it takes on many forms. An advocate's job is to find the gaps in a child's care and identify what can be done to fill those gaps. There are as many ways to advocate for a child as there are potential gaps in a child's life.
To help give a better picture of what it means to real-life advocate for youth in care, here are eleven examples of ways that CASA volunteers have advocated for youth recently.
It can be difficult to define advocacy because it looks different on every case, but the consistent thing is that an advocate is the person on the case who can give a child undivided attention. Advocates don't have dozens of cases to balance; they have a single child or sibling group to focus on. As a result they are often the only person who can recognize and anticipate all the myriad needs a child has and can make sure their parent, the judge, their school, CPS and anyone else involved are able to meet those needs. That is advocacy.
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