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.