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Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials: Who is Everybody? In Family or Dependency Court

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2021

This brief guide from the “I Am Isabella” series explains to a child (ages 7-12) involved in a child welfare case the roles of professionals who work on such cases.


The following introductory comments are offered to the child reader: “There are lots of people trying to figure out what happened and how to help you and your family and make sure that you are safe. Here are some of the people you might see and what their jobs are.” Colored drawings of the people depicted for these various jobs are then provided. The persons and jobs depicted are the Child Protective Services (CPS) worker, who determines whether or not children are safe or need help; Child Protective Services lawyers, who work for CPS and report in court about what they know about the case; “respondent,” who explains why CPS believe the child is not safe under current conditions; police officers, whose job is to keep people safe by enforcing laws that protect them; Attorney for Child (AFC), who is a lawyer that tells the court what the child wants and the family needs to help the child; the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), who recommends what she/he believes is best for the safety and health of the child; and the Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), who studies the child’s situation and needs and recommends to the court what she/he believes is best for the child. This child-oriented guide also provides job descriptions for social workers in such cases, a family/victim advocate, the judge, the attorney or assigned counsel, the court attorney, the court clerk or court assistant, the court officer, the court reporter, and the interpreter.