by Jessica Rayburn
I present the program and needs for the Dearborn-Ohio County Child Advocates a number of times a year, to quite a variety of people. Invariably, I am ask these two questions.
Question 1: How much time does this take?
Typically, a volunteer spends approximate 10 hours a month on a case. Those 10 hours consist of visiting the child(ren) 2 times, making phone calls, emails, or visits to the school, medical professionals, and DCS (Department of Child Services), and attending court approximate every 3 months. Spending 10 hours a month might seem like a lot, but it really isn’t.
It is important to get the two visits with the child(ren) because you are building a bond and becoming a constant in their life. The children are put into the system and this program due to no fault of their own. Many are scared and do not understand why they are involved in the system. Becoming a volunteer and creating that relationship with the child(ren) helps them understand that someone does care and is looking out for their best interest. Help these children by giving a little of your time and volunteering!
The 30 minutes a night you are watching TV could be spent making a phone call to help a child! Each case is unique and has different dynamics. The time spend can vary depending on how many children are involved, how deeply you want to get involved, and the dynamics of the case.
Question 2: Will you train me?
Training is broken down into three parts:
• Part one – Classroom. We will spend time in the classroom going over the book, example reports, listening speakers, and watching short videos. These hours are not all lumped together – they are spread out!
• Part two- Visits. You will visit DCS (Department of Child Services). During the visit DCS will provide a tour and information.
• Part three – Shadowing. You will shadow a veteran volunteer. During your time with the veteran volunteer you will be able to attend court hearings and visits with the children.
When you finish the 30 hours of training, you will be sworn in by the Judge. After you are sworn in you will be assigned your first case! The other volunteers and our staff are always available if you have questions or need assistance.
Our in-depth training is designed to make sure you are comfortable and have all the skills needed to be successful. Ready to join our next training?