There are many different sections of Child Advocacy. You can work as an educational advocate, as a Guardian AD Lidum for abused and neglected children in the social welfare system, as a staffer on the hill, for policy institutes, etc. This is a field that is becoming more and more popular as children start to be recognized as individuals with rights and interests. As someone who is going into this field herself after graduating, I applaud you for your interest. While the money isn't great (slight understatement) the joy of having a needy child throw their arms around you in thanks, or getting them into a better home, school, etc- makes all the struggle worthwhile. To see if you really want to go into this field I would suggest a couple of things- first a book worth reading to learn about children involved in abusive homes is "A child named it". This will show you the horror of what you might encounter and help you determine if you want to be on the "front lines" or rather in a more policy associated position. Also, I would suggest volunteering when you are in law school. CASA is a national organization that will let you serve as an advocate without your law degree and you will see all the different sides of the system. casa.org will direct you to an organization in your area. Also, look at the websites for Children Law Center, Youth Law Center, Juvenile Law Center- they will all give you an idea of your chosen area.After your 1st year in law school, you should start to take classes in family law, child advocacy, the education system, and probably a little bit of criminal law/juvenile justice, depending on what your school has to offer. Most schools also offer clinics in this area. Regardless of what your school has to offer, these organizations can always use volunteers.Something to keep in mind... public interest work is becoming as competative as top firm jobs, so if you are truly interested in this ares of work get ahead now.
Good advice for getting to know what you are getting into. I actually have been working as a child advocate for the last two years, on a volunteer basis. In the courtroom, with social services, with the education system- trust me, with 7 children assigned to me, 3 with learning disablities and 2 having been physically abused- I have seen enough to have an idea of what I am getting into.
Besides being a child advocate, however, my interests include advocating for victims of domestic violence, and women's rights advocacy in general
but also have an interest in working for organizations dedicated to impact litigation, or in the policy sector trying to change state law.
(And sorry about your son's ex...)
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