As you can imagine, no person decides to get an advocate because they enjoy it. Sadly, esecially in the CPS/DFS arena, people get them as a defense against a corrupted system. However, just as there are real advocates, you must also be very careful as many are fake.
You see this a lot jn the Facebook world. Individuals, FB organizations, even legal 501c3 organizations claiming the “advocate” badge. However, just because I claim a dog meows, does not mean the dog meows. So, when placing the future of your family into the hands of an advocate, what should you look for?
The first, and most important, are their credentials. What I mean by credentials is simply this: are they qualified to do the work to which you are needing. If you need an advocate, are they licensed? Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but it is. To simply state, a license determines rather or not they can advocate for you in the courtroom.
A misconception people often make is they are safe with a 501c3 organization; this is simply not true. If the organization is not licensed to do the work to which they are performing, than they are a threat to you. Sadly, I can name off the top of my head at least three organizations operating illegally.
Don’t choose an advocate lightly, you are fighting for your life and therefore you want somebody who is not only legal, but has a good reputation. Below is a list that I hope will assist you in choosing one.
1. Does the advocate/organization have a license to conduct the work you are needing?
2. Is their reputation in good standing? This is important. If an advocate is known to release their clients information, you want to steer clear. I added this because I know of one that has done this.
3. Do they have an extensive criminal history? Sadly, this matters in the court system. To the courts it wouldn’t look good if your advocate is a repeated felon.
4. Do they work with their clients? You don’t want an advocate that goes silent on you. You want to always be informed of what they are doing for your case.
5. Is my privacy safe with them? This goes back to number 2. You don’t want to work with somebody who has maliciously released case details regarding current/past clients. Even if they did it once, this is one time to many and you may want to steer clear of them.
The above is just a basic outline for you. From it, you can expand, ask questions! You want to obtain as much information about the proposed advocate as possible. If you feel they are misleading, you get a “bad vibe” from them, terminate the interview and move onto somebody else.