Become a Volunteer Child Advocate for Unaccompanied and Separated Immigrant Children

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ORGANIZATION: The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights


The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights is recruiting volunteers for our upcoming Volunteer Child Advocate training on Saturday, 6/29 and Sunday, 6/30 via Zoom. We need volunteers who are based in or willing to travel to Urbana-Champaign, IL. We are particularly looking for volunteers who are fluent in Spanish, Haitian Creole, French, indigenous languages of Guatemala, Portuguese, Arabic, Dari, and Pashto.

The Volunteer Child Advocate training on Saturday, 6/29 and Sunday, 6/30, is for people who are passionate about protecting and promoting the rights of unaccompanied and separated immigrant children. The training will cover topics like children's migration journeys, child-led engagement, circumstances of unaccompanied immigrant children in federal custody, trauma-informed advocacy, and vicarious and secondary trauma. Volunteers must complete both the online modules and in-person training. Once assigned to an individual child, each Volunteer Child Advocate will receive continued training, support, and supervision from Young Center staff. Volunteers who conduct in-person visits must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Here's how you can sign up:

  • Fill out our volunteer interest form on our website by Friday, 6/14. We are ending screening calls by Monday, 6/17.

Volunteer Child Advocate responsibilities include:

  • Visit with the young person each week and advocate for their best interest in collaboration with young people and Young Center staff.
  • Help the young person think through options and decisions.
  • Maintain regular communication with Young Center staff.
  • Continue ongoing communication with the young person upon their release from government custody.

More opportunities with The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights

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About The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights


2245 S. Michigan Ave., Ste. 301, Chicago, IL 60616, US

Mission Statement

The Young Center is a champion for the best interests of children who arrive in the United States on their own, from all corners of the world. We serve as trusted allies for these children while they are in deportation proceedings, advocating for their best interests, and standing for the creation of a dedicated children’s immigrant justice system that ensures the safety and well-being of every child. Young Center attorneys and social workers, along with bilingual volunteers, are appointed as Child Advocate (guardian ad litem) by the Department of Health and Human Services. Our role is to advocate for their best interests, from custody and release to the ultimate decision about whether the child will be allowed to remain in the U.S. Our goal is to change both immigration policy and practice so that immigrant children are recognized first as children and their best interests are considered in every decision.


The Young Center was founded in Chicago in 2004. The charge was to develop a program to advocate for the best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children-even though US immigration law does not recognize children as distinct from adults.

The program started small. Attorneys and social workers with experience in children’s rights and immigration law supervised bilingual volunteers-Child Advocates-who spoke the children’s languages. They met with the children while they were detained, accompanied them to immigration court and advocated for their best interests every step of the way.

In 2008, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. One short paragraph provides for the appointment of Child Advocates whose role is to advocate for the child’s best interests, the first mention of the best interests standard for immigrant children.

In 2009, the Young Center opened an office in Harlingen, Texas, on the U.S.-Mexico border. Judges, detention staff, attorneys, even ICE officials began asking for Child Advocates. In 2013 Congress amended the law providing for expansion of the Child Advocate program. Today the Young Center has offices in Houston, San Antonio Phoenix, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York, Harlingen, and Chicago.


Advocacy & Human Rights
Children & Youth
Immigrants & Refugees
Advocacy & Human Rights, Children & Youth, Immigrants & Refugees


Mon Jun 10, 2024 - Mon Jun 17, 2024


Urbana, IL 61801



  • Youth Services
  • Child Development
  • Spanish
  • Relationship Building




  • Background Check
  • Must be at least 21
  • Orientation or Training
  • Weekly 1-hour visits with the child the volunteer is appointed to. Volunteers write case notes and have periodic check-in calls with their Child Advocate Supervisor and the Volunteer Coordinator. Participate in two-day training on 6/29 and 6/30.

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