One aspect of human rights often overlooked in and beyond professional communication involves the rights of minor children whose parents or guardians are accused of abusing, abandoning, or neglecting them. Children in the United States who enter the dependency court system, where such matters are adjudicated, have few legal protections because of their status as minors, and parents or legal guardians under investigation are seldom appropriate advocates for such children due to real, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest (Litzelfelner & Petr, 1997; Minow, 1995; Reynaert, Bouverne-de-Bie, & Vandevelde, 2009). Many state and county governments have established programs designed to secure advocates for children in jeopardy. Known by names such as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Guardian ad Litem (GAL), these programs recruit, train, and appoint volunteers to represent children in court.1 These efforts are significant. According to program websites, in 2007 the national CASA/GAL movement reached a milestone of serving more than two million children in its first 30 years (CASA for Children, 2007; Piraino, 2007). In 2012 alone, the CASA/GAL network consisted of 946 local and state programs. These organizations engage more than 77,000 volunteers and serve more than 234,000 neglected and abused children annually (National CASA, 2012). Research shows that a child who is represented by a CASA/GAL advocate is more likely to find a permanent home, be adopted, and spend less time in the foster care system than one without such representation (CASA Boston, n.d.; CASA for Children, 2012; Litzerfelner & Petr, 1997; Ottmar, 2007; Piraino, 2007). Clearly child advocacy is a critical matter of human rights. In this article we examine relationships among the theory and practice of human rights, children’s rights, and rhetorical action in relation to child advocate report writing.
Bowdon, Melody; Pompos, Melissa; and Turner, Anna C.
"Writing in Crisis: Rhetorical Considerations in Child Advocate Reports,"
Journal of Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization: Vol. 4
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/rpcg/vol4/iss1/6