Thank you for taking a look at the job description for a Volunteer Child Advocate.
Volunteer Child Advocate (also known as a Guardian Ad Litem )
Dearborn-Ohio County Child Advocates (DOCCA)
REPORTS TO: Executive Director – Dearborn-Ohio County Child Advocates
PURPOSE OF POSITION: The volunteer is responsible for reporting to the Court and:
- Provides advocacy services to children, who are involved in juvenile court proceedings as stated in the Purpose Statement.
- It is administered in accordance with the national and State mission, goals, and policies.
- Complete the Volunteer Application form that requires three (3) references.
- Complete a criminal and Department of Children Services (DCS) background checks.
- Complete a personal interview with the Executive Director or otherwise designated representative.
2. Training Requirements
- Completes the appropriate training required.
- Upon completion of training, sign a confidentiality statement.
- Complete the necessary continued training as requested by the advocate program.
3. Volunteer Work
Complete an intensive independent investigation of court-ordered cases by doing the following:
- Provide the child and relevant adults with information about the volunteer’s role and the process of advocate involvement.
- Observe the child and relevant adults individually and when appropriate together.
- Interview the child and relevant adults and gather as much factual information as possible.
- Collaboratively and professionally work with other professionals involved in the case.
- Review records and reports that provide “need-to-know” information.
- Write a report to be submitted to the Court. The report should represent factual information in a way that does not oversimplify information, include assumptions, or jump to conclusions. The report should also include recommendations that are in the best interest of the child. The volunteer will provide a written report to the Court in a timely manner. The volunteer will submit all reports (or discuss oral recommendations) to the volunteer supervisor prior to submitting the recommendations to the Court.
4. Represent the Child in Various Settings
- Department of Child Services (DCS) case conferences. The volunteer advocate should advocate for the child’s best interests by presenting all relevant known facts and encouraging the development of a case plan that reflects the actual strengths, barriers, and needs of the child.
- Other collateral meetings that may include but are not limited to school, mental health, medical, and social service providers.
- Court hearings, if at all possible the volunteer’s presence in the courtroom for the hearing is strongly recommended. However, some circumstances may preclude the volunteer from attending. However, if the volunteer receives a subpoena, then he or she must attend the Court hearing.
- Monitor the case following a court hearing for the compliance and progress within the family and with other service providers. The volunteer will do so by continuing to maintain contact with children, parents, and service providers on a regular basis until discontinuation of service notification is received from the Executive Director or other assigned staff. Non-compliance should be immediately reported to the Executive Director or other assigned staff.
5. Other Miscellaneous Duties
- Make the necessary time commitments to complete case obligations. Inform the Executive Director or other assigned staff of absences or inability to attend meetings, etc.
- Keep an accurate contact case log and submit a copy of the log to the DOCCA office on a monthly basis.
- Consult with the Executive Director or other assigned staff regarding case progress at a minimum of one time a month or as directed by the Executive Director.
- Keep all client and Court information confidential. The case should only be discussed in settings that provide for confidentiality and only with authorized individuals.
6. Other Concepts that the volunteer advocate must Include
- Believe that each child is entitled to a placement that provides for the best interest of the child.
- Remain objective.
- Avoid over-involvement with individuals involved with the assigned case.
- Maintain a professional manner and appearance.
7. Record Keeping
The advocate will maintain the appropriate records of cases. A case record will include, but not be limited to the following:
- Biographical information of the child and family.
- Background information.
- All Court reports.
- The original Court Order.
- And any other information regarding the case.
These records will be kept up to date with current contact entries; progress notes; DCS reports and volunteer advocate court reports. Any correspondence, notes, in-person or telephone contacts will be of factual and pertinent information. At the dismissal of the case by the Court, the volunteer will return to the DOCCA office all files, reports, notes, etc. pertaining to the case to the DOCCA office. The volunteer’s files will be placed with the office in a locked archives storage file.