When children become involved in a legal battle, whether it is two parents fighting for custody or a criminal case in which a child is involved, it is common practice for the court to bring in a child advocate. The child advocate plays a vital role in legal proceedings and beyond to ensure the best interests of the child are always protected at a time when other parties involved may not have the child's best interests in mind. Here is a closer look at the role of a child advocate in a legal proceeding so you can understand better of your child is appointed with one of these professional representatives.
The advocate speaks when your child cannot.
In some legal courtroom situations, it is best if the child is not present even if they do need to provide testimony or a statement. In these situations, the child advocate may step in as the child's representative in the case. The advocate will provide the court with testimony directly from the child verbatim or they will be there to discuss statements the child has already given before the meeting takes place. This ensures the child is protected from the goings on inside of a courtroom that could be considered emotionally damaging to the child.
The advocate ensures the child's rights are protected.
Even though children are minors according to the judicial system, they do still have legal rights where the law is concerned. For example, if a child is involved in a case that involves interactions with the unnamed minor, but the minor is a huge part of the case, the advocate ensures steps are taken to protect the child's privacy throughout all legal proceedings. This often means that everything from submitted evidence to media releases must go through the child advocate before they can be released.
The advocate sets up appointed professionals for further assistance with the child.
If the legal case has stemmed from something that could have caused harm to the child, the advocate can offer parents resources and recommendations to help the child. For example, if a child was involved in a violent criminal case, the child advocate can assist the parents in ensuring the child gets proper counseling from a qualified child psychologist or therapist to help them through any emotional trauma. In some situations, treatment can be a mandatory part of a case, but most often, the parents are guided in making the best decisions for their child by the advocate.