Advocacy is about speaking up for children and young people. Advocacy is about empowering children and young people to make sure that their rights are respected and their views and wishes are heard at all times. Advocacy is about representing the views, wishes and needs of children and young people to decision-makers, and helping them to navigate the system.’ – National Standards for the Provision of Children’s Advocacy Services
NYAS are working together in partnership with the National Children’s Advocacy Consortium and the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers (NAIRO), on a national campaign to strengthen children and young people’s advocacy services.
The key elements of the Advocates4U campaign, coordinated by Article 39, are to influence the government and commissioners of children’s services to make the following happen:
- Creating an ‘active offer’ of advocacy where all care experienced children and young people are made aware of advocacy services and how they could access an advocate at the point at key stages in their life, such as when entering care, being faced with a change in home, or if accessing mental health services.
- Revising the current national standards for advocacy in England (last reviewed 2002) to ensure that children and young people receive the highest standard of support from advocates.
- Consolidating the law on advocacy entitlements to improve public and professional awareness to these vital services.
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Did you know…
- Children and young people in care have a right to express their wishes and feelings when decision about their lives are made. This right is defined in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and enshrined in the Children Act 1989.
- Care-experienced children and young people also have a right to be supported by an advocate when they need representation or have a complaint to make about their care experiences.
- Empowering children and young people helps them stay safe and aids their transition to adulthood.
(NYAS) welcomed the recommendations set out in a report from the Children’s Commissioner for England, (released June 2019) which found that a significant group of children are still being denied access to advocacy, despite having a statutory entitlement to it.
The “Advocacy for Children” report received evidence from the National Children’s Advocacy Consortium, which is co-chaired by NYAS, and also recognised NYAS for providing valuable research to inform its findings.
NYAS continues to work with partners to revise the national advocacy standards so they properly reflect current law and policy, and the challenges faced by children and young people and their advocates today. The new standards can then be used by the Department for Education as the basis for a full public consultation. Children and young people must be at the heart of this consultation, in keeping with the purpose and values of advocacy.
Advocates4U campaign has today (18/6/20) launched a progress report on children and young people’s advocacy services. The report charts the national and local developments made since June 2019 around ensuring children and young people’s access to high-quality independent advocacy services. Read the full report here.
NYAS advocates are independent: they do not work for the local authority.
Our advocates listen to what children and young people want, inform them of their rights and empower them to get their voice heard. We are on the side of the young person.
If you are you in care, a care leaver, or a professional seeking supporting on behalf of someone and you are looking for help and advice.
We can help… Please contact our friendly freephone helpline on 0800 808 1001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.