NYAS welcomes the new Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford’s promise of a consultation on the review of advocacy for care experienced children and young people later this year.

Alongside other charities in the children’s sector, NYAS has been campaigning to ensure that these long overdue changes are enforced. With the last advocacy review conducted in 2002, these reviews are crucial in ensuring that care experienced children and young people can expect the best possible support from their advocate.

Many children in the care system tell of experiences of helplessness and of being subjected to decisions made for them that they did not understand. Many of these children do not have an opportunity to share their experiences and feelings or voice their opinions. The National Standards for the Provision of Children’s Advocacy Services states that advocacy is about speaking up for children and young people, empowering them to make sure that their rights are respected and their views and wishes are heard at all times.

NYAS has been working together in partnership with the National Children’s Advocacy Consortium and the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers (NAIRO), on a national campaign ‘Advocates4U’ to strengthen children and young people’s advocacy services. As coordinated by Article 39, the aims of Advocates4U are to influence the government and commissioners of children’s services to ensure the right support is accessible.

NYAS are campaigning for an ‘active offer’ of advocacy, where all care experienced children and young people are made aware of advocacy services; revising the current national standards of advocacy in England; and to consolidate the law on advocacy entitlements to improve public and professional awareness to these vital services.

We have worked closely with the Children’s Commissioner to bring the need for this review to light and are proud that our campaign and the voices of the young people we work with has been heard. We look forward to responding to the consultation when it is published