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Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials: What Is Your Job? In Family or Dependency Court

NCJ Number
300643
Date Published
June 2021
Agencies
OVC
Annotation

This picture book for children ages 2-6 who are involved in child welfare (CW) cases explains the job activities of professionals who may interact with children in these cases, including participation in family or dependency court.

Abstract

This is the book’s introductory statement to the child reader: “You’re probably meeting lots of different grown-ups now. This book will show you who some of them are and what their jobs are. I will tell you what your job is, too.” The book emphasizes that the overall purpose of the jobs described is to ensure that kids are safe. Each of the jobs is presented in terms of how it helps children be safe and protected from harm. The jobs described include police officers who may be involved in the investigation of the CW case. The job of helping the child in court proceedings is presented under several possible names, depending on the jurisdiction where the child lives: guardian ad litem (GAL), attorney for the child (AFC), court-appointed special advocate (CASA), or family/victim advocate. The “respondent” is portrayed to the child reader as someone who tells the court about what has happened or existing situations that may have hurt the child. The “social worker” is portrayed as someone who asks the child questions and listens to the child about how she/he has been hurt or not protected from harm. Other jobs described in relation to what the child may experience in a CW case are the judge, the attorney or counsel, and judge’s helpers (court officer, court reporter, and court interpreter). The child reader is also portrayed as having a job, which is to answer questions about what they know or experienced.

Date Created: April 5, 2021