Advocacy for Children Receiving a service from Children Services Department

What is an advocate?

An advocate is available for those children and  young people receiving a service from the Local Authority Childrens Services Department.  An Independent Advocate is a person who is not employed by the Local Authority Children’s Services and will make sure you have the information you need about your rights and responsibilities to be involved in decisions that affect your life.

They are on your side and will listen to your views and take them seriously and can help you get your voice heard and make sense of your situation.

The Local Authority has a duty to provide an Independent Advocate for any child or young person who feels they need someone independent to share their views.

The Advocate will work just for you and is on your side.

To hear about people’s views on advocacy view the What is Advocacy? video.

What support can I expect from my Advocate?

  • If you want information or advice
  • If you feel your views are not being listened to and want someone on your side
  • If you are unhappy with the way you are being cared for
  • If you are angry or upset about something that is happening to you
  • If you feel you haven’t been treated fairly
  • If no one is telling you what is happening about your situation
  • If you haven’t been involved in decisions that are being made about you

What an advocate will do

  • Help you speak up for yourself or speak on your behalf if needed
  • Listen to your concerns or worries and help you to act on them
  • Be open and honest with you
  • Help you challenge decisions
  • Help you prepare for meetings
  • Explain to adults how you are feeling
  • Explain to you what is happening or what is planned to happen
  • Help you to sort out a problem if you are thinking of making a complaint, a claim of discrimination or an appeal

There may be some things that can’t be changed, but an Advocate will make sure everyone knows how you feel and help you to understand why the decision has been made.

Everything the Advocate will discuss will be confidential, unless it is thought that you are in a dangerous or life threatening situation, or are likely to be a serious danger to others, or the law tells us to pass on information. If this happens we may have to share this information through close links with the Police and Social Services.

What is the difference between Issue Based Advocacy and Active Offer of Advocacy?

Issue Based Advocacy Eligibility

All children and young people receiving a service from children’s services departments (5 years and over).

NYAS are an independent issue based advocacy service. Any ongoing referrals needing to be made to the service must outline a specific issue the child/young person is seeking resolution on. The referral for issue based advocacy MUST be made with consent of the child/young person and outline briefly the focus of the advocacy support required.

Any child or young person known to children’s service departments are entitled to an independent professional advocate throughout their time of involvement from children’s service departments. A child or young person should be reminded of the advocacy service throughout their time in care, within child protection procedures, throughout a care and support plan and at key transitional stages.

Active Offer of Advocacy Eligibility

Any child or young person over the age of 5 who has become known to children’s services through the Looked After system or Child Protection procedures since July 2017.

The active offer is a meeting between the advocacy provider and the child/young person to discuss their rights and entitlement to the advocacy service, how advocacy may help them now or in the future and the complaints process.

The outcome of the meeting may be the child/young person takes up the advocacy service for support on a specific identified issue or declines the service.

If the child young person declines they will be provided with service information for future use if needed. The referring person with permission of the child/young person will be informed of the outcome of the meeting

Further information

For more information on advocacy in the Gwent area contact NYAS:

Twitter:  @NYASServices
Facebook: NYAS.yp
Helpline: 0808 8081001