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Children’s advocacy

What does the children and young people’s advocate do?

The Children and Young People’s Advocate speaks up for:

  • young people who are in care or a care leaver
  • any child or young person being visited at home by a social worker

The Children and Young People’s Advocate is independent. She works with children and young people to help them get their views and wishes across.

If you ever have difficulty:

  • getting your point of view across
  • or you’ve tried to get help but nothing’s happening
  • or you want to tell someone how you feel, but are afraid or don’t know how
  • you want someone to talk to
  • and someone to listen

There is someone who will listen to your worries and help you find a way to get the support you need.

 

children's advocate

  • Supporting children to have their wishes and feelings heard (and attending meetings with them where necessary)
  • Making sure children understand what is being said
  • Helping to make a complaint
  • Give information and advice on rights and useful websites
  • Speaking with the people who are making decisions to ensure that children are involved in any plans about their lives

An advocate can also help with:

  • Child protection conferences and child care reviews-where requested
    • The advocate can help by preparing the child/young person if they are attending their Child Protection Conference or Review. The Advocate can also meet with the child/young person to record their views and wishes to be heard at the meeting.
  • We will always offer an Exit Interview
    • The advocate will meet with a child when they move from one placement to another and when they leave care, to give them the chance to talk about their experience. The advocate will make sure this information helps to improve services and support to young people.
  • And visit children and young people who live out of the area or in an Agency Placement
    • When a child is placed out of the North Lincolnshire area, or placed with agency foster cares, the advocate will visit the child regularly to make sure their voices are heard.

Children’s Services recognise the importance of Advocacy in ensuring a child’s voice is heard. Your child may be offered the support of an advocate. Anyone can make the initial referral and many children and young people self refer. As it is a child-led service, work will only commence when the child has agreed to it.

English is not the child’s first language?

  • We use an interpreting service so that we can communicate with the child, no matter what language they speak. We can also get information translated into other languages.

the child has a disability?

  • We can explore the best way to work with the child/young person, which may mean working alongside someone they know and trust.

the child doesn’t want to talk to an advocate?

  • Whilst children are encouraged to speak to an advocate, it is their choice.

the child discloses concerns about their safety?

  • Confidentiality is a key par t of the advocacy relationship and is important for establishing trust. Advocacy services also have safeguarding responsibilities to children and young people and these are made clear at the star t of the advocacy relationship.
  • If anything is said by the child that raises concerns about their own or other people’s safety, the advocate will inform all relevant professionals of this issue. The advocate will explain to the young person who this information needs to be shared with.

All professionals are invaluable in seeking out the views of the young people they are working closely with. However, there are times when additional support, from someone independent of care and support providers, is needed to ensure a child’s wishes and views are understood and represented.

It is essential that children have access to someone independent who can ensure the child’s voice is heard and raise concerns on their behalf. The experience of advocacy can be empowering for children and young people.

Children and young people often feel more confident to express their wishes and their entitlements when they have experienced an advocate doing so on their behalf .

What can an advocate help with?

  • Supporting children to have their wishes and feelings heard (and attending meetings with them where necessary)
  • Making sure children understand what is being said
  • Helping to make a complaint
  • Give information and advice on rights and useful websites
  • Speaking with the people who are making decisions to ensure that children are involved in any plans about their lives

An advocate can also help with:

  • Child protection conferences and child care reviews-where requested
    • The advocate can help by preparing the child/young person if they are attending their Child Protection Conference or Review. The Advocate can also meet with the child/young person to record their views and wishes to be heard at the meeting.
  • We will always offer an Exit Interview
    • The advocate will meet with a child when they move from one placement to another and when they leave care, to give them the chance to talk about their experience. The advocate will make sure this information helps to improve services and support to young people.
  • And visit children and young people who live out of the area or in an Agency Placement
    • When a child is placed out of the North Lincolnshire area, or placed with agency foster cares, the advocate will visit the child regularly to make sure their voices are heard.

Contact

The Children & Young People’s Advocate in North Lincolnshire is Beverley Goulding. You can call her on 01724 297000 or 07717586247, you can always email her on
Beverley.Goulding@northlincs.gov.uk