If you are one of many Washington parents whose minor child needs juvenile defense support, your family has no doubt been experiencing stress. As a parent, you might tend to internalize your son’s or daughter’s problems, perhaps blaming yourself to a certain extent. Many parents can relate to such feelings, and many parents want to try to help their kids as they navigate the juvenile justice system, such as advocating on their behalf with social workers.
A social worker is often assigned to a juvenile justice case to act as a sort of liaison to help kids and their families navigate the system. When a parent chooses to be proactive in advocating on a minor’s behalf, it can increase the chance for a more positive outcome. There are several ways that you, as a parent, can be a good advocate for your son or daughter.
Working with a social worker can strengthen your child’s juvenile defense
It’s not easy to learn that your son or daughter has been charged with a crime. The central focus of juvenile justice is to help minors get things back on track when legal trouble has disrupted their lives. The following list shows five ways that you can advocate on your child’s behalf with a social worker:
- Conduct research before attending meetings, so that you are fully aware of Washington laws, as well as the details of your child’s case.
- Make the most of communication with a social worker by asking questions and discussing all issues that are relevant to your child’s well-being, especially if there are extenuating issues, such as a substance abuse problem or mental illness.
- Take advantage of a social worker’s experience and input to focus on the far-reaching implications your child’s case might have on his or her life, as well as possible solutions to help him or her avoid similar problems in the future.
- One of the best ways that you can advocate for your child is to discuss the case with your child and listen to what he or she has to say.
- Let the social worker know that your primary concern is to protect your child’s interests, that you wish to be kept updated and that you are available to attend meetings and play an active role in facilitating the best outcome possible.
In addition to meeting with a social worker within the juvenile justice system, there are additional local resources to assist your family as your child’s case is processed, including licensed counselors, teachers or coaches who interact with your child and legal representatives who are experienced in juvenile defense.