In this series, we speak with members of the Children and Young People’s Advocates Network to learn more about independent advocacy for children and young people up and down the country.
What do advocates and children’s rights officers’ days look like? What are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of the job? What tips can experienced or specialist advocates give to those will less experience to help them effectively advocate with and on behalf of children and young people? What makes them proud and what motivates them to keep fighting for children’s rights?
Read on to learn more!
Autumn 2023: “We see our role as believing the children and young people we work with and challenging other professionals when necessary.“
In this issue we hear from the Youth Casework team at South London Refugee Association. The team undertakes advocacy type work with and on behalf of children in care and care leavers as part of their wider casework and support for children and young people under the age of 25 who are seeking asylum or have an insecure immigration status.
Summer 2023: “In general, I’d say that in your advocacy relationship with the child or the young person it’s most important to be reliable and do want you say you’ll do.”
In this issue we hear from Viv who has just retired after 15 years in independent advocacy for children and young people. During her time as an independent advocate, Viv worked with and for various groups of children and young people, including unaccompanied children, children and young people with disabilities, and children and young people subject to deprivation of liberty. Viv also has extensive experience of helping children and young people complain about local authority care services. Before retiring, Viv spent several years working as an advocate for Barnardo’s.
2020 – 2022 interviews
“The proudest moments are often when something tangible happens; something that everyone had been telling the child wasn’t possible.” Autumn 2022
In this issue we hear from Emma, a specialist advocate for children and young people with disabilities at Coram Voice who has worked in her role for almost 10 years. Her specialist advocacy support includes both direct work with disabled young people, and upskilling professionals across the sector so that they feel better equipped to advocate for the rights and wishes of young people with disabilities.
“It’s not about what you say but how you demonstrate your independence by what you do.” Summer 2022
In this issue we hear from Amanda and Mike, children’s rights officers at Telford & Wrekin Council, who have been in their roles for 18 and 21 years respectively (wow!). Their main aim is to help children and young people have their say and make sure their views and wishes are heard and acted upon by decision makers. Amanda and Mike provide advocacy to children and young people in care, care leavers, children and young people in need, and those who are in contact with child protection services.
“We are supporting somebody through some of the most difficult moments of their lives…” Spring 2022
In this issue we hear from Mags – a young parents’ advocate at Just for Kids Law. Mags has a range of experiences of working with young people in different settings, and feels passionately about the social inclusion of young parents.
More interviews from 2020-2022 coming soon - please visit this page again to read them!