Make a difference in the life of an unaccompanied immigrant child by volunteering to serve as a Child Advocate in Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Harlingen, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, D.C.
Who are Child Advocates?
A Child Advocate is an adult who volunteers to spend time with and advocate on behalf of an individual unaccompanied immigrant child while he or she is subject to deportation proceedings. We welcome volunteers from all cultures, professions, races, ethnicities and social backgrounds. Advocates must be at least 21 years old. We have a particular need for bilingual volunteers who speak Spanish. In Chicago, we always need volunteers who speak Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Romanian and other languages.
How can I become a Child Advocate?
Volunteering as a Young Center Child Advocate means being a reliable, trustworthy, and professional presence for children who are in federal custody, and accordingly, we have a thorough clearance and training process. We get to know prospective volunteers through an initial screening interview, an application and reference check, and at the required two-day training.
In order to be eligible to enter the detention centers, volunteers must also submit to an FBI background check, a child abuse and neglect (CAN) background check, and a medical screening for tuberculosis.
Once assigned to an individual child, each Child Advocate receives continuing training, support, and supervision from the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.
What do Child Advocates commit to do?
- Visit with the child each week.
- Help the child think through options and decisions.
- Accompany the child to court hearings and other important meetings and interviews.
- Conduct research on the child’s situation in his or her home country.
- Develop best interest recommendations with Young Center staff.
- Maintain communication with the Young Center staff.
- Advocate for the best interest of the child alongside Young Center staff.