Laura Sharman 13 June 2019

Children being denied advocacy, report warns

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A ‘significant’ group of children are being denied their legal right to advocacy, a new report has warned today.

The report, published by the Children’s Commissioner, found more than a quarter of care leavers’ referrals for advocacy are not being taken forward.

It also found that while all the local authorities spoken to could explain what advocacy services were available to care leavers, 29% did not know how complaints advocacy for children in receipt of health services was delivered.

The report - Children and Young People’s Advocacy in England - found many children and young people feel their wishes and feelings are being ignored.

The report is calling for local authorities to set out a clear strategy to show how advocacy for all eligible children will be delivered.

Coram Voice said it has also found that a quarter of local advocacy services do not work with the full age range of children in care and care leavers, so it welcomed the extension of advocacy to every child and young person in the care of the state who needs it.

Brigid Robinson, managing director of Coram Voice, said: 'We have been really pleased to be able to work with the Children's Commissioner to inform this report. Young people we consulted for the advocacy report told us that lack of information was a key issue. The recommendations in today's report are an important way of ensuring that advocacy services are not only available to all, but that children know how to access them.

'We support the call for more transparency and believe that requiring each local authority to publish their advocacy offer, in much the same way that they have to publish their 'care leaver offer', would make it clearer to children and young people what advocacy is and how to get support if they need it.'

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