This week, the Advocates4U campaign group launched a progress report on children and young people’s advocacy services. NYAS is part of the group coordinated by Article 39, alongside Coram Voice and the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers.
A year ago, the Children’s Commissioner for England published 10 recommendations for improving children and young people’s access to, and the effectiveness of, independent advocacy services.
The Advocates4U progress report looks at how far England has come in improving advocacy standards for young people, including those with care experience.
The report is available here.
Rita Waters, NYAS Chief Executive, said:
“A year on since the Children’s Commissioner’s report and there is still so much to do. Strengthening children’s rights to advocacy is more vital than ever during this time of lockdown and uncertainty. Our independent advocates have been working hard to empower and safeguard children and young people throughout the pandemic, and NYAS are eager to see new standards and consolidated laws to support that work.”
Carolyne Willow, Article’s 39’s Director, said:
“Children’s rights and advocacy services have always been about redressing the power imbalance between professionals and children. Independent advocates ensure children and young people are heard, understood and their rights defended. We’re thrilled the Children’s Minister has committed to revise the national advocacy standards and regulations this year, as this will hugely strengthen the support and help children and young people receive…”
Brigid Robinson, Managing Director Coram Voice, said:
“It has been a year since the Children’s Commissioner’s report and children’s right to independent advocacy is more crucial than ever. Daily our independent advocates support children to make sure their rights are upheld and their voices heard . Coram Voice are keen to see new the standards and a strengthening of children’s access to advocacy; ensuring children get high quality independent advocacy when, and where, they need it.”
Jon Fayle, co chair of NAIRO, said:
“A strong and genuinely independent advocacy service is essential to help protect and promote the rights of children in care. NAIRO supports this campaign and is pleased that the recommendation if implemented will strengthen and enhance the advocacy service. Advocates are important colleagues of IROs and we need to work closely together in the interests of children in care.”