Unfortunately, child abuse continues to be a serious social issue throughout the world. In most jurisdictions, there are a number of opportunities for anyone who wishes to become a child abuse worker. In order to become a child abuse worker, an individual may choose to pursue a career as a lawyer, social worker, or psychologist, or become a volunteer in a program such as the guardian ad litem or foster care program.
Although the laws and procedures for dealing with child abuse will vary throughout the many nations of the world, child abuse is a crime in most countries. As such, when a child is believed to be the victim of abuse, he or she is often removed from the home and placed in a foster care setting. Victims of child abuse frequently require therapy from a social worker or psychologist to help them deal with the trauma. There are a number of opportunities for a person who chooses to become a child abuse worker to help victims throughout the legal process.
When a parent is suspected of child abuse, the state generally files abuse charges against the parents and/or files a petition requesting the removal of the child from the home. In many jurisdictions, there are prosecutors who handle nothing but child abuse cases due to the sensitive nature of the subject and the fact that the victims are children. A person who wants to become a child abuse worker may choose to become a prosecutor by first completing the required education and licensing. Within the United States, a prospective attorney must complete an undergraduate degree, three years of law school, and then pass the bar examination and complete the state licensing procedures in order to practice law.
Another option for anyone who aspires to become a child abuse worker is to become a social worker or psychologist. Social workers are commonly relied upon to help a child who has been the victim of child abuse. In many cases, the child is also referred for more intense therapy to a child psychologist. Within the United States, a social worker or psychologist must complete an undergraduate degree in the appropriate discipline at a bare minimum. Many agencies require, or prefer, that a social worker or psychologist who will be working with child abuse victims have a master's degree in his or her chosen discipline.
For an individual who wants to become a child abuse worker on a part-time, volunteer basis, there are a number of programs or agencies that can always use volunteers. Many courts appoint guardian ad litems to represent the best interests of the child when legal proceedings are pending. Individual court requirements will vary with regard to the qualifications necessary to become a guardian ad litem; however, in most cases, some post-secondary education is required, as well as completion of a background check and education aimed at teaching the volunteer how to advocate for the child. Another volunteer option is to become a foster parent to child abuse victims who have been removed from the home. Most jurisdictions do not require any particular level of education, however, an extensive background check will likely be completed.