Writing in Crisis: Rhetorical Considerations in Child Advocate Reports

Melody Bowdon, Melissa Pompos, Anna C. Turner


This article examines relationships among the theory and practice of human rights, children’s rights, and rhetorical action in the context of legal proceedings related to the welfare of children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. The authors conducted collaborative research with a team of child advocacy experts to evaluate and improve the writing training received by volunteers who represent such children in the courts. The article describes a rhetorical model, derived from Kenneth Burke’s dramatistic pentad, for developing and assessing advocacy reports and concludes with recommendations for professional communication practitioners and students who wish to collaborate with their local advocacy programs in support of children in jeopardy.


guardian ad litem; court appointed special advocate; advocacy report writing; dependency court;

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