Become an Advocate
Make a difference in the life of an unaccompanied immigrant child by volunteering to serve as a Child Advocate in Chicago, Illinois or Harlingen, Texas.
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 immigration 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, Mandarin, Arabic, Hindi or Gujarati.
How can I become a Child Advocate? Before being assigned, Advocates are required to complete a two-day training session on child development, communicating with children, U.S. immigration law and issues facing unaccompanied immigrant children. Once assigned to an individual child, each 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.
- Draft a written report regarding best interest recommendations.
- Maintain communication with the Young Center staff, the child’s Case Manager at the shelter and the child’s attorney.
- Advocate for the best interest of the child.
If you are interested in volunteering to be a Child Advocate,
please complete and return the application
or contact us at:
The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights at the University of Chicago
Phone: 773 702-9560
Fax: 773 702-2063
After being orphaned in Morocco, Fanny Clonch was trapped in households where she was nothing more than a commodity. The story of her grandmother, who as a child had been sold into slavery and eventually escaped, inspired Fanny to find a way out.
Reported and co-produced by Alex Kotlowitz and edited and co-produced by Amy Dorn. [12:46 min.]
Exodus of One, by Alex Kotlowitz for
This American Life
Just three years old, Georgia was caught by immigration officials when a Milwaukee woman brought her into the country illegally from Jamaica. She ended up at a residential shelter in Chicago. No one knew much about Georgia—where she was from in Jamaica, who her parents were, or how she ended up with this woman from Milwaukee. [42 min.]
Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights
at the University of Chicago
6020 South University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
© 2006 Immigrant Child Advocacy Project.
All rights reserved.
Axie Breen and Brian Robinson
Home page main photo by Tony Armour.
All others by Kathy Richland Pick.