Young people who are involved with our children’s services and have a social worker can ask to have an Independent Advocate. This is someone who listens and helps a young person to have their voice heard in those decisions made about them.
Young people have a right to be listened to and have their views taken seriously, but sometimes it can be difficult to say how you are feeling. We can help young people by arranging an Independent Advocate.
An advocate can support a young person at a Child Protection meeting, Child Looked After review meeting, Leaving Care meeting, to make a complaint or can offer support at a Children's Servies meeting where a young person is involved and wants support to have their voice heard.
An Independent Advocate is someone who doesn’t work for Bracknell Children’s Services. They will make sure you get your views across and your voice heard. They are on your side and work for you.
You might already know someone that can support you, a person you can trust for example a teacher, youth worker or personal adviser. Or it could be a volunteer, someone independent who is trained to be an advocate. You can discuss who you think would be best with your social worker.
When you might want to use an advocate
You might want to use an advocate:
- if you feel your views are not being listened to
- 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 decisions are being made about you that you haven’t been involved in
- if you want to make a complaint
An advocate will:
- help you speak up for yourself or speak on your behalf if that’s what you want
- 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 and what is planned to happen
- help you to sort out a problem if you are thinking of making a complaint
An advocate does not necessarily make things better. There may be some things that can’t be changed, but they will make sure everyone knows how you feel and help you to understand why the decision has been made.
Your advocate must promise to keep what you say private unless you agree to it being passed on. However, they may have to pass on information to Children's Services if they think you might be at risk of harm.
Find out more
Speak to your social worker or the Child Participation Development Officer and they will talk you through it and see if an advocate is what you need.
Get in touch to ask for an Independent Advocate
To ask for an Advocate, contact the Child Participation Development Officer by:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- text: 07825 682 524
- phone: 01344 351 546
Other useful numbers include:
- Action for Children: 01635 873739 (You will pay for this call)
- Coram Voice helpline: 0808 800 5792
- NYAS freephone 0808 808 1001