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Office Of The Child Advocate

  • To Volunteer, Contact:
    Mary Catherine Landis

The Office of the Child Advocate is mandated to represent the best interests of dependent, neglected, and abused children. Through both Deputy Child Advocates and volunteer attorneys throughout the state, OCA was able to represent 1,082 children during the course of Fiscal Year 2007, a 6% increase over Fiscal Year 2006.

In volunteering to represent the best interests of a child, pro bono attorneys are statutorily charged with several duties. Most importantly, they need to develop a relationship with their client. They will want to meet all the people important in the child's life and gather all written documentation regarding the child and his or her parents. They will want to make sure they understand the reasons the child entered foster care (if they have a foster care case), and ensure that the Children's Department is doing what is necessary to remedy those issues. They will also want to ensure that the child is getting the services he or she needs.

As of June 30, 2008, about 317 attorneys were representing 517 children.

If you are an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Delaware, you are eligible to represent a child through OCA. Retired and inactive members are also eligible to volunteer pursuant to Supreme Court Rules 69(d) and 69(f).

Read the Office of the Child Advocate's FAQ on volunteering.

You can sign up to volunteer online:

  • State(s) of Volunteer Opportunity: Delaware
  • Area of law: Family & Juvenile, Child welfare issues including guardian ad litem
  • Populations Served: Children
  • Opportunities For: Law Students, Lawyers, Senior Lawyers
  • Hours for Pro Bono Opportunities: Flexible, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
  • Malpractice insurance is provided for volunteers: Yes
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Training Required: No
  • CLE credit for trainings: Yes
  • Training / Supervision Comments: Each year, OCA runs several "Nuts and Bolts" trainings. These trainings are held at the OCA offices, other Court facilities and at individual law firms. The program is for two hours and provides 2.0 CLE credits including .5 Enhanced Ethics. OCA also offers a Brown Bag Lunch Series providing one hour seminars on advanced topics in child advocacy. These topics are chosen from routine inquiries, concerns and suggestions from our pro bono attorneys. These programs also receive 1 CLE credit.
  • CLE credit for pro bono: Yes
  • CLE pro bono comments: You will be able to receive 1 CLE credit for every 6 hours of pro bono work up to 6 credits per reporting period. See CLE Rule 8(D) and Form 13.
  • Mentoring or supervision offered: Yes
  • Volunteer lawyers need to meet a caseload or hours requirement: No
  • Types of projects in need of Pro Bono help: Client intake and screening, Draft legal documents (e.g., briefs), Litigation: Trial/Direct Representation
  • Volunteers may participate long-distance: No
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