Support Center for Child Advocates

Public Interest Communications Fellow


Project Goal: The Public Interest Communications Fellow will work with Child Advocates to analyze work on developing and implementing a collective message and communications plan for the network of Philadelphia nonprofit public interest legal services organizations that are members of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee. The fellowship will provide a unique opportunity to interact and strategize about key opportunities to impact service delivery and improve their shared anti-poverty outcomes for the executive directors of over 30 nonprofit public interest legal organizations in Philadelphia.


Agency Information


Agency Mission
To advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect with the goal of securing safety, justice, well-being and a permanent, nurturing environment for every child.

Address  1617 JFK Blvd.
Philadelphia 19103

Total number of Agency Staff Members  40

Agency Budget  3588810

Job Description

The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:         

  • Learn the goals and objectives of the DLSC legal aid community, as well as the various audiences;
  • Research and evaluate current communications strategies of Child Advocates and other legal aid organizations;
  • Develop a set of key performance indicators to track impact of messaging on various audience;
  • Set up and analyze website and social media impact via Google Analytics;
  • Review and analyze email marketing reports of open rates, click through rates, and other available metrics;
  • Launch periodic online surveys to solicit feedback and test perspectives;
  • Interview donors, program participants, volunteers and other target audience members for perception and impact;
  • Draft strategic Communications Plan for Child Advocates to be used as a template for other legal aid organizations;
  • Draft Best Practices guide and develop training for DLSC member agencies;
  • Assist in the development and implementation of a strategic collaborative communications plan for DLSC (with input from the DLSC Communications Subcommittee);
  • Develop web-based and printed materials aimed at branding Philadelphia’s legal aid community and educating the public about the positive social and economic impact of legal aid on the city;
  • Support the day-to-day communications needs of Child Advocates as needed, e.g., social media postings, drafting press, contacting media, etc.; and
  • Support the day-to-day communications needs of DLSC collective communications work and projects as needed, e.g., drafting promotional articles, op-eds, and calendars publicizing DLSC events, etc.


Skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position:    

  • College graduate with a degree in Communications, Marketing, Public Relations, English or related field.
  • Strong written/verbal communications and editing skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office
  • Knowledge of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram


Community Need

Specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address:

Already the poorest big city in America, Philadelphia also has the highest rate of deep poverty of the nation’s ten most populous cities. Only 20 percent of low-income Philadelphians are able to obtain a free civil legal aid attorney because the programs are understaffed, underfunded, and unable to meet escalating client demand. The Philadelphia public interest law community is a collaborative network of over 30 nonprofit agencies joined in their missions to further the interests of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable segments of our populations facing poverty, discrimination and injustice. Better and more strategic communication of our collective and individual missions will help to increase awareness of the work of civil legal aid. In turn, bolstering resources will directly affect and increase the service capacity so that the legal needs of our citizens are being met. The Support Center for Child Advocates (Child Advocates) provides legal and social services advocacy to victims of child abuse and neglect. Of the 1,000 children that we are now serving each year, approximately 95% of them receive multiple government entitlements due to  their low-income status, with many falling below the federal poverty level. Child Advocates is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee (DLSC), which consists of a wide cross section of leaders from the public interest legal community who come together regularly in an effort to identify, and provide for, the civil legal needs of the most underserved members of the Philadelphia community by creating and expanding free legal services for the poor; improving the quality of those services; developing and providing continuing legal education for public interest lawyers; sharing and expanding the collective knowledge of experts in various areas of public interest law; raising public awareness of legal and social issues affecting the poor and disadvantaged; and leveraging the work of public interest law firms by forging partnerships with the private bar to expand the delivery of free legal services to those in need.


How the new capacity created by this fellow will help strengthen the community and alleviate the problem:   

We have developed a multi-faceted communications project for a Philly Fellow to advance Child Advocates’ fundamental objective of improving the lives of the poor children we serve and their families. First, the Fellow will be responsible for assessing the impact of Child Advocates’ existing communications plan, identifying and utilizing data analyses, survey tools, and other measures to determine if our brand and our messages are effective and generate the desired return on investment (ROI). Second, s/he will measure the impact of Child Advocates’ various projects on our clients and develop a strategy for targeting messages about our projects that will motivate our audiences to action, namely funding support and volunteerism. Third, leveraging the data analysis of Child Advocates’ communication, the Fellow will work with DLSC to develop and implement a “collective message” and strategic communications plan to educate the public about how legal aid is an essential force in combating poverty. The Fellow will develop collaborative materials to inform the public about how legal aid improves the social and economic wellbeing of the city’s poorest residents and communities; assist DLSC members with connecting to the media; and implement additional strategies for delivering the collective message. The Fellow will connect with existing resources, such as the National Voices for Civil Justice, and work with DLSC members to improve perceptions of legal aid and generate interest among lawyers to participate in pro bono services. In coordination with the Association and its Public Interest Section, DLSC member organizations provide  high quality free civil legal representation, advocate  for systemic changes to reduce poverty and inequality, and work  to shape a humane and safe society characterized by opportunity, financial stability, self-determination, liberty, and justice for all.


Level of community involvement in the fellow’s project:

The Fellow will be active within the local legal aid community. In the first months of the fellowship, s/he will connect with leadership and/or communications staff of the DLSC member agencies to become familiar with the current communication efforts of the various organizations. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to engage the community when ascertaining the impact of messages upon various audiences. Surveys, focus groups and one-on-one meetings with various stakeholders will be crucial tools for analyzing the efficacy of our communications strategy.


The organization’s experience operating anti-poverty programming of this nature:

Child Advocates’ success in fundraising, volunteer recruitment and reputation rests on its ability to increase visibility,  raise awareness and educate audiences through branding, marketing and public relations.  In 2007, the agency underwent an extensive re-branding process resulting in a new logo, tagline and brand identity that is in place today. Over the years, Child Advocates has improved and increased press relations, publishing numerous op-eds on current events, staff and Board profiles, event highlights and more. The agency incorporated social media into its communications plan in 2009 and continues to develop new strategies to leverage various social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. We invested in a half-time position of Communications Associate to manage our online presence. In 2013, Child Advocates upgraded our website and moved to a WordPress platform to allow staff to manage and update our site in real time. Child Advocates Board of Directors included public and media relations, as well as brand management, in the current long-range plan Vision 2020.


Fellowship Logistics


Fellow orientation plan:

Child Advocates will provide orientation for the Fellow as any other staff member, ensuring all necessary paperwork is in place, including child abuse clearances, and that a work station is set up (logins, email, etc.). On Day One, the supervisor will introduce the Fellow to the staff, policies and organizational structure, as well as discuss the job responsibilities and project goals. The Fellow will receive Vicarious Trauma training and will be expected to attend a full day of training, “How to Handle a Child Abuse Case,” at the next scheduled workshop to gain exposure to the issues and needs of Child Advocates clients and volunteers. The Fellow will also receive similar orientation and training by the Public Interest Coordinator at the Philadelphia Bar Association.


Name and title of the fellow’s immediate supervisor:  Moira Mulroney; Director of Development & Communications


Plans for supervision of the fellow:

Moira Mulroney, Esq., Child Advocates Director of Development & Communications, will be the Fellow’s primary supervisor. In the first six months, there will be weekly supervision meetings, and bi-weekly for the remaining six months, with face-to-face interaction on all days the Fellow is onsite at Child Advocates. At the Bar Association, Merril Zebe, Esq. will supervise the Fellow and oversee his/her work product for DLSC. The Bar Association’s communications department will also be able to provide input as needed. Moira and Merril will work together to establish priorities and assess progress.


Will fellow be working at the same address listed above? 

Yes     Philadelphia Bar Association,1101 Market St #11, Philadelphia, PA 19107


Will the fellow have their own…             

Office?  Fellow will share 
  Fellow will have their own
 Fellow will have their own


The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…

Independently  50  

As a team member in a group setting  40

As a team leader in a group setting   10


Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position?  Yes

If so, how often and where?   The Public Interest Communications Law Fellow will split his/her time between Support Center for Child Advocates (4 days a week – 80%) and the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee (1 day a week – 20%). Meetings, trainings and other appointments may require travel throughout the community.


Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…

A driver’s license?  No

Their own car?   No