Advocates are volunteers; they do this role because they have a genuine interest in the welfare of children and young people. They are not social workers, support workers or carers.
An Advocate is there to help you to express your views, wishes or feelings, or to speak on your behalf. An Advocate’s role is to make sure you understand what is happening and can question anything you don’t understand. It may be that you want an advocate to attend a meeting or review with you to make sure your views are heard or to support you in raising any issues or making a complaint. An advocate cannot make decisions, give advice or tell you what to do but they will inform you about your options.
This will differ depending on the on the situation and reason why your advocate is supporting you. Visits and timescales will usually be agreed with you during the first visit.
You can ask for an advocate if you are involved in social care services, are looked after, a care leaver or a young person with disabilities. Young people who wish to make a formal complaint will be offered support from an Independent Advocate.
Yes, you will get a choice of who you want as your advocate. We will try to match you to an advocate who can best support you. .Advocates have skills and experience in different areas so we may suggest an advocate who can best help you depending on your situation.
An Advocate has a genuine and active interest in the welfare of children and young people, they should be patient, a good listener and help you to understand. An Advocate will never share information about you without your consent (except in situations regarding safeguarding) If you are unhappy with the support you are receiving from your advocate you can discuss this in confidence with the Independent Visiting and Advocacy Officer.
“I used to attend my review meetings but to be honest I wasn’t really sure what people were talking about. I wanted to ask questions about my future but I wasn’t confident enough to speak out in front of a room full of professionals so I just sat there nodding along! It was then I asked for an Independent Advocate. I met with Bill a few times tell him about what my issues were. Bill was a good listener and took the time to get to know me and understand my concerns. Bill would always check that he understood what I had told him and would not share any information without asking me first. Bill attended my reviews with me and would ask questions on my behalf- If there was anything I didn’t understand I would nod at Bill and he would ask my social worker to explain it again until I did. By having an Independent Advocate I now feel more involved and confident about what the plans are for my future. “
“I was unhappy with the care I had received and wanted to make a complaint but was unsure about how to go about doing it. I was offered an Independent advocate to help me with this. We met up a few times and I explained what I was unhappy about. As I am not very good at writing things down, my advocate listened, made notes and helped me to put together a written complaint. My advocate helped me through the complaints process, explaining what would happen at every stage. She also attended meetings with me to help me put my issues across and ensure I understood what was being said and the outcome of the meetings.”
If you are interested in providing advocacy for a child or young person, you can call the Independence and Advocacy team on 0151 934 4080 or by email below.