What is an Advocate?
An Advocate can provide you with support if you are a Child Looked After or Care Leaver.
An Advocate is an independent person. This means they work separately to other adults who may be supporting you, such as your social worker, carer or Independent Reviewing Officer (the person who chairs your Review Meetings).
An Advocate can help you to:
- Feel that you are listened to by your social worker and that your voice is heard
- Express your views, wishes and feelings
- Understand your rights
- Explore your choices and options to help you to make informed decisions
- Take part when decisions are being made that involve you.
What kind of things can an Advocate help me with?
- Having your voice heard in your meetings and meetings about you
- Problems with where you live
- Problems with your family time/contact arrangements
- Changes when you leave care
- Changes when you move from children’s services to adulthood
- Making a complaint when you’re unhappy with the support you have received from Social Care.
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 move away from Wirral or are living in secure accommodation.
Children and young people who have a Child Protection Plan in place to support their family can also request an Advocate. Please see Barnardo's website for more details and how to make a referral.
- Coram Voice has created AdvoCat who explains Advocacy to children who are aged 11 and under.
Meet the team
I have been an Advocate for a long time (over 15 years!) and have worked at Barnardo's for over 8 years.
I really enjoy my job helping children and young people to express their voices, say what is important to them and what their hopes and wishes are and to make sure that they are listened to.
I like to think of different and creative ways of helping children and young people to express their thoughts such as through drawing, writing and games.
The part of my job that I find most rewarding is helping young people gain more confidence to take part in meetings that are about them and talk about their thoughts and feelings at the meeting. I also like to help young people understand more about their rights.
Independent Visitor Coordinator and Advocate
I've been part of the team for 9 years now.
My job is to introduce young people to the right Independent Visitor (we call them IVs for short) for them. As each young person is very different, I spend time getting to know them to learn more about them, their personality, what they like to do in their free time, as well as the support they want from an IV. This is very important information as it means I can match young people to the right IV for them.
We also also need lots of different IVs who are ready and waiting to meet a young person who may want their support. I also help volunteers to become IVs by supporting them to learn what's important to young people about having an IV.
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.
I also work as an Advocate to help young people voice their wishes and feelings and make a complaint when things haven't gone right.
The best bit of this job is helping young people to feel their point of view matters and it is being listened to.
Contact the Barnardo’s WAIV service
Phone: 0151 228 4455 or e-mail: email@example.com