Resources for advocates

Please note: the Department for Education is currently consulting on revised standards (deadline for submissions: 18 December 2023). For now, children’s social care advocacy services must follow these 2002 standards.
Change through Advocacy is an annual publication created by children, young people and advocates, with support from the Article 39 team.

We have written an easier-read version of the draft advocacy standards currently subject to consultation, which you can find here. Our summary of key changes between the original standards (issued 2002), and the draft new standards (2023) is here.

Helping children and young people to access independent legal advice is a critical part of effective advocacy services. Getting help from a lawyer can ensure children and young people receive what they are legally entitled to; it can challenge inaction and unwelcome decisions of public authorities (such as refusals to provide a service or delays in fulfilling duties); and lead to compensation for rights breaches.

The current legal framework does not guarantee access to independent advocacy support to every child or young person in England who may need it. Here we set out the rights of children and young people to access help from an independent advocate in a variety of situations.

Find the legislation and government guidance you need

Here we set out the key primary and secondary legislation, and government guidance, which will assist independent advocates and children’s rights officers to defend children’s rights effectively.

‘Law maps’ for advocates

Our ‘law maps’ offer bite-sized, accessible information about the law in the context of specific situations that children and young people seek help with.

Advocacy clinics

Our advocacy clinics bring together children and young people’s advocates from across England and legal experts to increase professional knowledge, confidence and skills. By analysing real-life advocacy scenarios, we help independent advocates challenge rights’ breaches and protect children and young people’s rights even more effectively.

Children Act 1989 

Learn more about the cornerstone of our child protection and welfare system, including what duties it places on local authorities and what rights it gives to children and young people. Here you’ll find a small selection of guides developed with advocates in mind and addressing topics such as seeing and spending time with family, making representations (including complaints) under the Children Act 1989 procedure, and making sure children’s wishes and feelings are taken seriously.  

Understanding the law: an introduction

Our ‘Protecting children’s rights through the law guide breaks down the current legal framework in England to help advocates understand and use the law in their practice.

Equality Act 2010

Here you’ll find our accessible guide to the Equality Act 2010 developed specifically with independent advocates in mind.

EU Settlement Scheme

Seminar recording and useful links for advocates supporting children and young people who may need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Other resources

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.