Child advocate lawyers are the professionals who work to protect the rights of minors in various cases that can include child custody, abuse, divorce, neglect, and proceedings in juvenile court. A child advocate lawyer is generally appointed by the court in the following instances:
• The minor has been neglected or abused, physically or sexually
• Child custody proceedings that have been contested
• Parental rights termination
When it involves juvenile court proceedings the parents can choose to hire a juvenile attorney but if they cannot afford to hire one the court will appoint a child advocate lawyer. These lawyers are trained in representing minors. To become certified in child welfare law they need to be certified through the National Association of Counsel for Children (CACC). To get this certification they must have been in practice as child advocate lawyers for three years and spent at least thirty percent of that time working in the field of child welfare. They will also have to complete at least thirty-six hours or more of continuing legal education courses that deal with child welfare law.
Responsibilities of child advocate lawyers
• Participate in all court negotiations and proceedings
• Requesting hearings
• Conducting investigations
• Obtaining all the necessary and relevant records regarding the parents and minor
• Receiving notice of all documents from court
• In support of the advocate’s position they present evidence to support it.
• Collecting child support payments
• Making varies recommendations to the court in the best interests of the minor they are representing.
• Presenting the wishes of the minor to the court
In juvenile court proceedings child advocate lawyers will coordinate court services with community resources and agencies that provide treatment programs or assistance to any minor that is need of alcohol or drug abuse treatment or other forms of counseling. They are the ones that will investigate the criminal charges and circumstances that surround it. Child advocate lawyers will also make recommendations to the juvenile court in regards to a suitable closure of the case in the best interest of the minor.
In some cases these lawyers may serve as special education advocates. If the child has special needs the child advocate lawyer can represent both the child and their parents in issues regarding treatment and services the local school district offers to make sure that these children receive the right public education that is provided and required by law. They can also counsel parents and the children to help them understand their legal rights. Child advocate lawyers also lobby state legislature on behalf of the rights of children and research legislative proposals. Child advocate lawyers work to make sure that the rights of children are enforced.