World Children’s Day, Saturday 20th November, marks a time to come together to support children and their rights, and elevate their voices. The day takes place each year on the anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UNCRC is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. Covering all aspects of a child’s life, it makes clear that every child has rights, irrespective of their status.

NYAS is committed to ensuring that children and young people are encouraged and supported to express their views and have their rights upheld.

All NYAS services are formulated around the child-centred principles set out in the Children Act 1989 and in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), in particular Article 12, which is all about the right for children to be heard and involved in decisions that are made about them.

What is Article 12?

Article 12 states that when a decision is made that impacts children and young people, their thoughts and opinions on the matter should be taken seriously, no matter how old they are.

This is where advocacy comes in – advocacy is supporting someone to express their views and wishes.

How does NYAS uphold Article 12?

The clue is in our name! We’re the National Youth Advocacy Service – we champion children’s rights and provide independent advocacy services to children and young people across England and Wales.

Advocacy is about listening to children and young people and empowering them to speak up for themselves when important decisions are being made about them. NYAS advocates are always on the side of the child or young person.

As the largest independent provider of advocacy services our national network of independent advocates empower children and young people to ensure their rights are upheld and their views, wishes and feelings are represented, respected and heard.

Advocates can also help children and young people with the following:

  • Listen and empower them to sort out an issue by themselves
  • Help them to express their wishes and feelings
  • Attend meetings with them or attend on their behalf if they don’t wish to do this themselves
  • Involve them in decisions made about them
  • Help them make a formal complaint
  • Advocates do not JUDGE or give their own opinions

This World Children’s Day 2021, we want the children of England and Wales to know that we’re here for them, and we hear them.

If you are a young person who needs help to have your wishes listened to, get in touch with NYAS. Just call our free helpline on 0808 808 1001, or email

Download the UNICEF child-friendly version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child