CHILDREN AND YOUNG PERSONS ADVOCACY
Advocacy is the process by which the views, opinions, wishes and feelings of people who feel that they are not being heard, or do not have a voice within the situation they find themselves, can be professionally represented and related to those they wish to hear such views.
Put simply, if you think you are not being listened to, feel ignored, or don’t know what to say or who to, then Independent Advocacy can ensure you are heard.
An Independent Advocate will
- Listen to your views, opinions, wishes and feelings.
- Help you speak for yourself in situations that you may find difficult.
- Assist you to put your views to those you wish to hear them, or do this on your behalf if you wish.
- Attend meetings with you or represent you at them.
- Help you understand what is being said to you, or to understand forms or letters that you receive.
- Work in partnership with you to ensure that you feel heard.
- Keep your confidence at all times (except where you need to be kept safe)
- Help you to make a complaint about the services you receive if necessary.
An Independent Advocate will not
- Tell you what you should do.
- Talk to anyone about you without your permission (except where you need to be kept safe)
- Make decisions for you.
- The Children and Young People’s Advocacy project is commissioned by the Local Authority to provide Independent Advocacy to children and young people of Wigan in the following areas.
Children and young people who are
Looked after by the Local Authority including Care Leavers who may access the service up until the age of 25. Subject to child protection proceedings, or are considered by Social Care Services to be a child in need, or those who are open to the early help process. Accessing mental health services, or attempting to access, or who have accessed such services. The referral criteria includes children and young people between the ages of 4 and 17 (Care Leavers up to 25). Parental consent must be in place and the child or young person must have been consulted and want the service prior to the submission of any referral.
Anyone may refer a child or young person to the service, as long as the referral criteria is fully met,and we particularly welcome self-referrals where this is possible. In addition as a charity we undertake to represent vulnerable children considered by Social Care Services to have complex needs. Advocacy Training is available to professionals and volunteers through Wigan Safeguarding Children’s Board who can be contacted at email@example.com . The Advocacy Ambassadors programme of training is also available to Schools, Children’s Care Homes, GP Surgeries, or any organisation or service that would benefit from a bespoke package of training that formalises the practice of advocacy and putting the voice of the child at the forefront of their practice. Details of this training package can be found at https://www.wigan.gov.uk/Docs/PDF/Resident/Education/Schools/Services-for-schools-catalogue.pdf.
Wigan Family Welfare Independent Children and Young Person’s Advocacy will lead on the SEND (Special Educational Needs) Independent Advocacy Referral Gateway which will commence in September 2018. This will be a new offer for the question to be considered as to whether a Child or Young Person would benefit by being independently represented. In addition this provision will also look at the needs of the families of Children and Young people referred to the gateway, primarily but not exclusively, the families of those young people on the ASC Pathway (Autistic Spectrum Condition). This will be in conjunction with our partners locally with a view to providing previously inaccessible advice, guidance and service provision from an holistic perspective centred around the child or young person, but with the family in mind too.
If you have any enquiries relating to this project please call our Independent Children & Young Person’s Advocate Stuart Entwistle on 01942 867888 option 1 extension 202, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively our admin team on 01942 867888, email email@example.com