What is an advocate?
An advocate is someone who can help you to have your say. They can support you to make sure your views are listened to and acted upon. Sometimes they might help you to write a letter, make a phone call or go to a meeting with you. An advocate can help you to understand your rights and have a say in the plans that are being made about you.
If you are in care you could ask for an advocate if you are worried or upset about something, or if things are changing for you – perhaps you are moving placements or going to a new school. An advocate can go with you to your review or other meetings about you. Advocates can also help you if you want to write a letter, make a complaint or resolve an issue.
If you are going to a Child Protection Conference you may want an advocate to help you to have your say. An advocate could meet with you before the meeting and talk about what is going to happen and help you to get your wishes and feelings heard. Sometimes advocates go along to meetings with you or sometimes they can go on your behalf. An advocate can also help if you don’t agree with a decision and want to appeal against it.
“Advocacy means taking action to help people to say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice.”
Advocates listen and ask questions in order to clarify the specific issues of concern.
- Provide accurate information about your rights
- Provide help to resolve the problem
- Discuss any negative consequences that may arise from a particular action
- Proceed only if you or your representative gives permission
- Support you to speak up for yourself or speak on your behalf
- Consult and keep you informed during the process, until the issues are resolved
- Provide information about other services if we are unable to resolve the concerns
You can have the support of an advocate for all of the following:
- Initial Child Protection (ICPC), Child Protection (CP) Plan reviews, Core Group meetings
- Child Looked After (CLA) Reviews
- Family Group Conferences
- Leaving Care Planning
- Child in Need Meeting
- Advice and Assistance
- Transfer Conference
- Education Planning meetings (PEPs)
Advocacy is available to all children and young people receiving a service or entitled to receive one from Children’s Social Care in Somerset.
Advocacy is about listening to and understanding what you want and then supporting you to make sure that your rights are respected and what you want is taken into consideration when decisions are being made that affect your life. We are free and independent, that means we answer to no one else, we are just there for you.
If you are a young person who would like to request advocacy please email us at Route1Advocacy@somerset.gov.uk. We will contact you and arrange to see you in a place where you would like to meet.
If you are a professional wishing to refer a young person for advocacy complete our referral form.