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Why advocacy?

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 (S119) makes sure local authorities provide advocacy services to looked after children or care leavers who want to make any representation or complaint.

The UNCRC recognises that children are able to form and express opinions, to participate in decision-making processes and to influence solutions.

Many children’s organisations are lobbying for this to be extended and for children in care to be able to access independent advocacy whenever any decisions are being made about them.

What is advocacy?

  • Advocacy has been described as 'speaking up' either for yourself or on behalf of someone else.
  • It is a process of ensuring that someone’s voice is heard; that their views, needs and wishes are represented.
  • Children and young people's advocacy aims to challenge the discrimination faced by children and young people in an adult world.
  • Currently children's advocacy is largely focused on children in local authority care.
  • Advocacy functions at two levels; individual case advocacy and systemic advocacy.
  • Advocacy can include professional case advocacy, citizen advocacy, peer or self advocacy.
  • Advocates for looked after children are trained professionals, who are independent of social care services.
  • Advocates will represent the views of looked after children whether or not they agree with those views, and whether they feel that it would be in their best interest.

Advocacy standards

The National Advocacy standards were developed by the Department of Health in 2002.

The standards set a minimum level that children and young people can expect form professionals providing advocacy services.

Children and young people contributed to the standards.

The National Advocacy Standards

  • Advocacy is led by the views and wishes of young people.
  • Advocacy champions the rights and needs of children and young people.
  • Advocacy services have clear policies to promote equality issues and ensure no young person is discriminated against.
  • Advocacy is well publicised, accessible and easy to use.
  • Advocacy gives help and advice quickly when they are requested.
  • Advocacy works exclusively for children and young people.
  • The Advocacy service works to a high level of confidentiality.
  • Advocacy listens to the views and ideas of young people in order to improve the service provided.
  • The advocacy service has an effective and easy to use complaints procedure.
  • Advocacy is well managed and gives value for money.

Advocacy for LAC in the East Riding

The service is confidential and nothing will be done or said without the young persons consent (unless of course that young person is in danger and even then no action will be taken without them knowing).

What can advocacy help with?

  • Issues around contact.
  • If a young person does not feel listened to.
  • If a young person wants to complain.
  • If a young person is asked to move placement.
  • If a young person is being bullied.
  • Anything else that a young person wants stopped, started or changed.

How do young people access advocacy in the East Riding

Ring the Participation and Rights Team on 01482 396828.