Advocacy for children – resources for practitioners
Advocacy is about speaking up for children and young people and helping them take part in decisions that affect their lives. It involves making sure their rights are respected, and their views and wishes are heard and acted upon by decision-makers.
There is a growing recognition of the importance of advocacy for children and young people when plans are being made for their lives.
Appreciating the views and feelings of the young person helps them feel involved and can help everyone make better decisions. Working like this is not just good practice, it is also a legal requirement.
The Children Act says young people must be treated with respect and this means (amongst other things) that young people must be listened to.
If a local authority is deciding what should happen to a child or young person they have to find out how they feel and what they want. They have to tell the child or young person what is happening and why.
All disabled children should have the opportunity to use an advocacy service. For children placed away from home there is an even greater need for advocacy.
The Children’s Society have produced useful tools and information for practitioners and also a number of reports that look in detail at various aspects of advocacy:
- the value of independent advocacy for looked after children
- someone on our side – new research on advocacy for disabled children
- a guide for commissioners.
These can be found on their website at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/independent-advocacy
- See also our voice of the child resource.
Manchester’s Children’s Rights service
In Manchester, Children’s Services has commissioned the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) to deliver its Children’s Rights Service.
Find out more on the MCC website at www.manchester.gov.uk/making_sure_you_are_listened_to