Those who want to know how to pursue a career in child advocacy have many options to consider. Numerous occupations are available to people who want to pursue their passion for helping children professionally. Learn about child advocacy as a career option and find out about various ways to enter this profession.
What Is Child Advocacy?
Child advocacy is a field that is dedicated to promoting optimal care for children. People who want to learn how to pursue a career in child advocacy have different paths they can take.
The first step is to think about what aspect of this profession interests you the most. Do you want to deal with educational issues and child development? Are social issues appealing to you? Are you interested in the field of law? Are government agencies interesting to you? Each facet of child advocacy offers ways for a caring individual to help those who are not able to help themselves.
Consider the available options and find areas that appeal to your interests.
A child advocate may work in a number of different capacities for many types of organizations. Some functions include:
- Arranging adoptions
- Dealing with neglect and abuse
- Helping single parents
- Foster care placement
- Early intervention
- Counseling for pregnant teenagers
- Dealing with truancy problems
- Behavior modification
- Addressing health issues
Child advocacy does not always involve direct contact with families and children. If an advocate sees problems in the infrastructure, he or she may work toward changing policies that interfere with a child's rights, health or wellbeing.Some advocates work behind the scenes on a larger scale, address policies and situations that affect children. This type of work may involve:
- Researching policies
- Filing lawsuits
How to Pursue a Career in Child Advocacy: Education Options
While there is not a specific educational requirement to enter the child advocacy profession, employers in this field prefer to hire college graduates with an appropriate academic background. If child advocacy is a career goal, consider the following education options:
Health and Human Services
Earning a degree in health and human services is a great path for people interested in child advocacy. People holding this degree have knowledge of:
- Public safety
- Managing nonprofits
- Social work
- Public policy
- Health services
Those interested in the field of education can consider earning an undergraduate or graduate degree in education. This degree can help you take a leading role in advocating for students while working with the school district and outside agencies.
Kinesiology is the study of human movement, and a degree in this innovative field can lead to a career in advocacy. Individuals with a degree in kinesiology can advocate for children in many areas:
- Promoting health and fitness
- Managing physical disabilities
- Ergonomics (modifications and assistive devices)
- Physical rehabilitation
A degree in psychology can be helpful for individuals who want to find opportunities to work with children who are at risk for developmental, behavioral and social problems.
Earning a degree in sociology can be a great way to prepare for a career in child advocacy. A degree in this field can lead to a career with a child advocacy center or another agency that provides outreach services to youngsters in need of support and assistance.
An undergraduate degree in any of the above fields combined with a law degree can be an excellent background for entering the legal aspect of the child advocacy profession.
The National Children's Advocacy Center
You can learn more about pursing a career in child advocacy from the National Children's Advocacy Center (NCAC). This organization is dedicated to helping children, and it is a one-stop resource for people who are interested in pursuing a career in this important field.
NCAC offers training, activities and model programs. You can find opportunities to serve as a volunteer, which can lead to employment. The site also lists job openings as they become available.
Child Advocacy Options
Becoming an advocate for children can be a rewarding experience, and you have the benefit of working with your specific areas of interest. Whether taking the legal road, or the path of a social worker, many options are available. Child advocacy centers are excellent options to consider. No matter which direction you take, when you decide to pursue a career in this field, you will be providing a voice for a delicate population that otherwise would have none.