What is Children and Young People’s Advocacy?
This is for children and young people to make sure they are heard and to help them raise concerns about their care with the appropriate professionals. Support is available for:
- Child Looked After meetings and reviews
- Placement issues, including where the placement is at risk of breaking down
- Care and support planning
- Making a complaint about Blackpool Children’s Services, placement or the care and support provided
- Accessing services, including specialist health and social care as well as mainstream services
- Transition to post 18 services
- Any issues that are directly connected to the Looked After Child or care leaver status, or the disability of the child or young person
Who is it for?
The service is available to children and young people who are:
- Children who are Looked After (CLA) under Blackpool Council
- Care Leavers
- Children in Need (CiN) under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989
- In transition to adult services and have Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND)
- Accessing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in transition to adult services
What can an advocate do?
The advocate can:
- Assist you in expressing your views and to ensure you have been heard and taken into account in decisions that affect you
- Help you understand the decisions that have been made about you
- Understand your circumstances and help to clarify your view of the situation
- Make you aware of your rights
- Support you at meetings or Looked After Reviews and / or write letters
- Attend meetings for you if you don’t want to go yourself
- Advise you about all the different ways of dealing with problems, and what the consequences might be
- Be there to listen, explain, and present the wishes and feelings to Blackpool Children’s Services on your behalf.
The advocate cannot:
- Attend Child protection proceedings (unless the child or young person meets the eligibility criteria set out above)
- Support with educational issues in mainstream or SEN schools
- Support with benefits and finances
- Provide a mentoring or befriending service
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the Children’s Advocate contact with the child/young person’s family?
Yes if the child/young person gives permission for the advocate to contact their family, or if it is considered in their bests interests where the child/young person doesn’t have capacity to instruct the advocate to do this AND the family member is not suspected of abuse or neglect.
Where the child/young person is a Looked After Child or subject to child protection proceedings, the advocate will need to check with Blackpool Council Children’s Services social worker before contacting family members.
Can the Children’s Advocate provide long term ongoing support to the child/young person?
No. The Children’s Advocate provides short term issue based support, but children and young people can be re-referred to us if they require further support in the future (even if this for the same issue).
What happens if the child/young person becomes eligible for another type of advocacy, for example Care Act Advocacy or Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)?
The Children’s Advocate will identify situations where the child or young person becomes eligible for another type of advocacy, and discuss the referral process with the relevant professionals. We will try to ensure continuity of advocate in these circumstances.
Can children, young people and their families make a self referral for Children’s Advocacy?
Yes, we can take the referral by email, telephone or post and we will confirm whether the person is eligible for the service. If you are not eligible for Children’s Advocacy we will offer another type of advocacy where possible, or signpost you to local services
Can organisations other than the local authority make referrals for Children’s Advocacy?
Yes, we can take the referral by email, telephone or post and we will confirm whether the person is eligible for the service. If they are not eligible for Children’s Advocacy we will offer another type of advocacy where possible, or signpost you to local services
Will you be asking children and young people what they think of the advocacy service?
Yes we will complete a feedback form with all children and young people.