Deputy Child Advocate

This position is EXEMPT from the State of Delaware Merit System.

Recruitment #050324-J65729-21800

Summary Statement

The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) is an agency within the Judicial Branch, charged with safeguarding the welfare of Delaware’s children. It accomplishes this mission through advocacy, education, collaboration and evaluation with a vision of safe and resilient children with supportive families.  Statewide, it has 46 employees and contractors and over 400 volunteers. OCA operates out of all three counties.   

OCA’s Legal Services Division represents approximately 600 children that are experiencing foster care through Child Attorneys and Court Appointed Special Advocates with support from Program Coordinators. OCA’s legal services team, through the representation of children, furthers OCA’s goals to:

  • Provide a voice for children to achieve permanency and justice, and to improve laws and policies that affect children and their families.
  • Foster a communicative multi-disciplinary team that builds trust and respect amongst  members  with a shared goal of improving outcomes for children and families
  • Ensure accountability by examining child welfare data, laws and policies.
  • Develop quality training to increase professional expertise and public awareness. Facilitate access to resources and opportunities for youth.

The Deputy Child Advocates, assisted by Family Crisis Therapists or OCA Program Coordinators and CASA Volunteers represent children in DSCYF Custody Proceedings by conducting an independent investigation, conducting discovery and preparing pleadings, developing and maintaining a relationship with the child client, and collaborating with the OCA Legal Team to achieve permanency for children. The DCAs also supervise interns, conduct trainings and serve on policy and legislative committees and work groups to improve the legal system.

Preferred Qualification

Applicants who do not possess the preferred qualification will still be eligible to compete for this position if job requirements are met.

  1. Knowledge of the child welfare system and Family Court proceedings.
  2. Prior representation of a child, agency or parent in Family Court.

Essential Functions

The Deputy Child Advocate has the following duties:

  • Provide legal representation to children as a Child Attorney in DSCYF Custody proceedings as follows:
  • Conduct an independent investigation of the circumstances of a case of appointment, which shall include but not be limited to interviews, observations of the child and relevant individuals, as well as a review of all relevant records and reports.
  • Conduct discovery, prepare and file pleadings, respond to pleadings filed, consult with the attorneys or other parties in the case, prepare for hearings, present evidence to the Court, and participate in all depositions, negotiations, conferences, hearings, related proceedings and appeals.
  • Provide copies of all case-related documents and correspondence to the Family Crisis Therapist or Program Coordinator and CASA volunteer in a timely manner.
  • Notify the Family Crisis Therapist or Program Coordinator and CASA of court hearing dates and Court hearing outcomes in a timely manner.
  • Consult with the Family Crisis Therapist or Program Coordinator and CASA on each child regularly, and prior to every Court hearing. Debrief with all members of the team after every Court hearing.
  • Explain to the child, taking into account the child’s ability to understand the proceedings, the duties of the child attorney, the role of the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), and the rights of the child.
  • Ensure regular contact with each child client, considering the age and developmental needs of the child in determining the person, frequency and circumstances of the contact.  Absent good cause, the DCA should have contact with older youth (age 10 or older) between hearings shall occur.
  • Ensure that any age-appropriate child is afforded the opportunity to come to Court, and meaningfully participate in the Court hearing, using the Youth Involvement in Court tools to facilitate participation.
  • Appear, when needed, on behalf of a child in related Court proceedings, and apply and advocate for services, including those from the Violent Crimes Assistance Program.

Provide legal representation to young adults between 18-21 years who choose to extend Family Court’s Jurisdiction as follows:

  • Lead discussion on Extended Jurisdiction with youth and obtain youth’s consent if it is desired by the youth.
  • File the Petition and submit order of appointment for Judge’s signature.
  • Ensure youth receives Court notices and orders and remind youth of upcoming Court hearings.
  • Review Court order with youth and answer any questions.
  • Represent the youth’s wishes.
  • Maintain at least monthly contact with youth in a way that is meaningful to the youth (face to face, phone, video chat, text, etc.).
  • Maintain regular contact with Independent Living providers.
  • Identify gaps in services and assist in acquiring such services.
  • Attend all Court hearings and ensure youth is present, if possible, and has the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the Court proceedings.
  • File to terminate Extended Jurisdiction before age 21 when deemed appropriate or as desired by the youth.

  • Assist the Child Advocate and the Chief of Legal Services in examining and developing policies, procedures and programs of public education, training and legislative advocacy to secure and ensure the legal, civil and special rights of children.
  • Assist with and attend local and national trainings, meetings and seminars as requested.
  • Represent the Office of the Child Advocate on committees, task forces and workgroups that impact the legal representation of children as needed.  
  • Assist OCA in staffing the Child Protection Accountability Commission as well as participating in the work of the Commission. Complete other legal representation projects and committee assignments as needed.
  • Participate meaningfully in regular supervision with the Chief of Legal Services.  Maintain current records and statistical data on all legal services.
  • Comply with all statutes, rules and directives pertaining to the legal representation of a child. Continually review and update personal knowledge and understanding of State and Federal law, rules and regulations that impact legal representation of children, and research legal issues as requested by OCA.
  • Interview, select and supervise Law Clerk interns as appropriate.

Job Requirements

Applicants must have education, training and/or experience demonstrating competence in each of the following areas:

  1. Licensed to practice law in the State of Delaware.
  2. Experience working with volunteers, professionals, or community advocates.
  3. Strong commitment to the essential needs and welfare of children.
  4. Knowledge of interviewing to obtain facts, explore issues and identify a course of action. 
  5. Ability to communicate courteously and effectively, both verbally and in writing.
  6. Ability to prioritize work and manage time effectively.
  7. Possession of a valid Delaware Class D driver’s license or its equivalent.
  8. Willingness and ability to travel between Kent and Sussex Counties for Court hearings, and to travel statewide (as needed) to meet with clients.

Conditions of Hire

  • A satisfactory criminal background check and child protection registry check is required as a condition of hire.
  • Direct deposit of paychecks is required as a condition of hire. 


  • Full time employees are eligible for FREE parking!!!
  • To learn more about the comprehensive benefit package please visit our website at

Selection Process

The application and supplemental questionnaire are evaluated based upon a rating of your education, training and experience as they relate to the job requirements of the position. It is essential that you provide complete and accurate information on your application and the supplemental questionnaire to include dates of employment, job title and job duties. For education and training, list name of educational provider, training course titles and summary of course content. Narrative information supplied in response to the questions must be supported by the information supplied on the application including your employment, education and training history as it relates to the job requirements.

Once you have submitted your application on-line, all future correspondence related to your application will be sent via email.  Please keep your contact information current. You may also view all correspondence sent to you by the State of Delaware in the “My Applications” tab at


Accommodations are available for applicants with disabilities in all phases of the application and employment process.  To request an auxiliary aid or service please call (302) 739-5458. TDD users should call the Delaware Relay Service Number 1-800-232-5460 for assistance.

The State of Delaware is an Equal Opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce. We strongly encourage and seek out a workforce representative of Delaware including race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.