A family advocate works in a social service type agency that deals with children and their families. These individuals may work in foster agencies, homes for children and families, nonprofit organizations, or directly through government social services departments. Family advocates are responsible for creating a relationship with assigned children and their families to support them through difficult situations and provide parenting guidance. They also help families reach out to community programs for which they are eligible and act as a liaison for the family and these programs.
Family advocates interview, question, and write reports about families and children; make recommendations for programs and community involvement; and help families through education and guidance. They collaborate with supervisors and other advocates, and this position is a mandatory reporter of suspected abuse, so they may work with the police or child protective services. This job is generally full time with a rotating schedule, so advocates may work some evening and weekend hours depending on the availability of their clients. This position may require travel to client’s homes.
Family advocates generally must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, though a bachelor’s degree in a field related to this position (such as psychology, sociology, or another human services field) may be required or highly preferred. They must have some experience working directly with community populations, and (depending in the location) fluency in a language other than English may be highly desired. This can be a stressful position so family advocates must be able to remain calm in tense situations and work well with people who are in a difficult point in their lives. They must be encouraging, supportive, and enthusiastic in their work and have excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
Family Advocate Tasks
Assist in educating parents in behavior and life skills, individual and group classes.
Assess quality of care by visiting home and residential sites.
Act as a liaison with parents and treatment professionals.
Manage caseload and follow-up care.