Challenges of Being an Advocate and Mediator

Essay by deetwinUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, August 2009

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Mediators and advocates are important entities in the human service field. Many times clients are not knowledgeable about the rights and or laws that pertain to their particular case. Mediators ensure that all parties are treated fairly and are aware of their rights which make mediators a valuable tool when conflicting parties can not come to an agreement. Advocates also are also an important commodity in the human services field especially for those groups of people who can not fight for themselves such as the homeless, children, and the mentally and physically disabled. This paper along with my personal opinion, as stated above, will attempt to illustrate my personal approach and philosophy to advocating/mediating while working with homeless children.

Distinct differences exist between working as an advocate and bringing parties together towards resolution as a mediator. As an advocate, working for the rights of homeless children in their school systems, I would be responsible for running interference with all parties, and actively working to get and keep the homeless students in school on a full time basis.

Advocates for children who are homeless have the job of contacting appropriate agencies to follow up and make sure that support services needed by the students are coming through with the promised aid for their shelter, nourishment, and support. This aid might include the possibility of providing ancillary aid to the families as well, but it is a fine line to cross.

As the advocate of a homeless child the first priority is getting the support for that child, and it may include stretching the arm of responsibility to be the person to figure out how the parents, siblings, or other extended family members will eat or where they will sleep in any given night. "These families are often referred to as the...