What is an Advocate?
An advocate is an independent person who provides support to children and young people who are looked after or care leavers, assisting them to express their views, wishes and feelings. They will listen to you and help you to understand your rights. They will enable you to explore your choices and options, help you to make informed decisions and make sure that your voice is heard.
An advocate can support you to participate in decisions and processes that involve you.
Issues that an advocate could support you with:
- Reviews and multi-agency meetings
- Transition from children’s services in adulthood
- Leaving care
- Problems with placement
- Problems with contact arrangements
- Access to complaints
Who can have an Advocate?
If you are a child looked after or care leaver from Wirral, you can request an advocate up to the age of 24. You can have an advocate if you are placed out of borough or are in secure accommodation.
What does the WAIV team do?
We support children and young people in the following ways:
- Advocacy for young people who are looked after.
- Advocacy for young people who are on a child protection plan.
- Independent Visitors for children looked after.
- Foster carer reviews.
What is an Advocate and how can they help me?
An Advocate is an independent person who supports you to express your views, wishes and feelings to people working with you such as a social worker.
An Advocate listens to you and helps you to understand your rights.
An Advocate enables you to explore your choices and options, and help’s you to make an informed decision.
An Advocate can support you to participate in decisions and processes that involve you, for example helping you with any meetings you may have.
Children Looked After Advocacy
We work with children and young people who are looked after and aged up to 25 years old around issues that you may be struggling with.
This could be:
• Having your voice heard in your meetings such as CLA reviews
• Transition from children’s services in adulthood
• Leaving care
• Problems with where you are living
• Problems with contact arrangements
• Access to the complaints process
Child Protection Advocacy
We work with young people who are aged 8-18 years old who have a child protection plan in place to support their family. We help young people to understand the child protection process and share young people’s views within this process to ensure that their voice is heard.
Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) Joe Gormley answers your questions about what happens before, during and after a Safeguarding Conference.
Support with complaints
We help young people to make a complaint when they are not happy with a service that they have received from social care.
We help young people to understand the complaints process and support them to raise the issues they are not happy with.
Some of the things we have helped young people to complain about are:
- Contact with family not happening as it should.
- Transition to adulthood not progressing in appropriate time scales.
Coram Voice has produced an animation which explains Advocacy to children who are aged 11 and under;
Foster Care Reviews
Once a year foster carers have a review which looks at how things are going for them as foster carers.
If you are living with a foster carer you will be invited to have your say about the things you like or don’t like about where you live by filling in a questionnaire that is then looked at during the review.
Geri Brown from Barnardo’s supports young people to fill in their questionnaire.
Geri will arrange to meet with you at home at a time that is convenient for you.
An Independent Visitor is a volunteer (someone who does something and doesn’t get paid to do it) who will come and spend time with you every month. Usually when you meet your Independent Visitor you’ll arrange to do something fun. You can teach your Independent Visitor about all the things you like doing in your free time and they can introduce you to new activities to do and places to go.
An Independent Visitor is someone who you can get to know very well, and someone who will get to know you very well. Hopefully after you’ve spent lots of time together, they will become one of your good friends.
An Independent Visitor is someone who is a great listener; you can talk to them about anything.
They are someone there just for you and can often be in your life for a long time if this is what you want.
It can sometimes feel a bit scary getting to know someone new, but our Independent Visitors are all very friendly and they know that it may take some time for you to feel that you can trust them.
Meet the team
I have been an Advocate for over 11 years and have been at Barnardo’s for the past 6 years.
I really enjoy helping children and young people to have their say and be listened to. I enjoy doing lots of different direct work activities with young people such as drawing pictures of the things that are important to them.
The most rewarding part of my job is when young people develop the confidence to attend their meetings and speak about their feelings.
I have been with Barnardo’s for nearly 3 years and I have been an Advocate for Barnardo’s for nearly a year now, it is the most rewarding and fulfilling role.
The best bit of my job is working alongside children to support them and help them voice their wishes and feelings and to watch them grow with confidence to eventually attend meetings and voice their wishes independently.
Independent Visitor Coordinator and Advocate
I have been the Independent Visitor Coordinator for 6 years now.
My job is to introduce young people to the right Independent Visitor for them.
My job has two parts to it. The first part is meeting young people who have asked for an Independent Visitor, so that I can learn a little bit about them, their personality, what they like to do in their free time and the support they would like from an Independent Visitor. This information is really important as it means I can match young people to the right Independent Visitor for them.
The second part of my job is to train people to become Independent Visitors so that they are ready and waiting to meet a young person who may want their support.
It’s always great to see a young person and their Independent Visitor really getting on, enjoying spending time with one another and becoming good friends.
WAIV Service Contact Details
You can contact the Barnardo’s WAIV service by
Phone - 0151 650 5488 or e-mail - email@example.com