How to Become a Youth Advocate

Although we tend to think of children as loud, opinionated, and outspoken, sometimes they lack the courage our outlets for sharing some of their grievances. Emotional troubles, physical or sexual abuse, malnutrition, and neglect are fairly popular problems that sometimes require additional prompting from the outside.

In such instances, a youth advocate sometimes acts a mediator, confidant, or counselor. If you would like to become a youth advocate, it’s worth exploring what steps one must take in order to become fully qualified.

Summary of the Job

As a youth advocate, your job would be to identify troubled children, intercede if necessary, and bring in whatever parties (parents, teachers, counselors, attorneys, etc) are necessary in order to find a solution.

Important Skills for Being a Youth Advocate

The best youth advocates tend to have several skills in common. These are by no means a “must”, but if your natural skills and qualities align with these it will help you in your day-to-day job.

Listening
Sometimes troubled youths need someone to listen to them to help them.
Diplomacy
Being able to see multiple sides of arguments and figuring out solutions.
Compassion
Being compassionate helps others understand how much they mean to others.

But keep in mind that sometimes these other parties are the problem, so diplomacy, tact, and patience are extremely important. Strong listening skills are also of vital importance. This is especially true if your charge is used to being ignored, overlooked, or abused.

Education & Training Requirements

There are actually many different paths to this particular career. Receiving training in counseling, social work, legal studies, parenting, law enforcement, and child protection are all fairly popular options.

As already mentioned, diplomacy and good listening skills are extremely important, but because you are often the child’s “protector,” you must also have thick skin and a firm resolve if you want to become a youth advocate. Sometimes, you’ll be going up against some fairly overbearing and abusive individuals, so standing your ground is extremely important.

Related Career Paths

If you are interested in working with youths and juveniles to help them get on the right path, you may be interested in similar career paths. We have written career profile pages for each of the following: