Advocacy is about speaking up for children and young people, and ensuring that their views and wishes are heard and acted upon by decision makers. It should be independent and confidential.
In Shropshire the advocacy service is provided by Coram Voice (an independent national charity).
An advocate can help you to say the things you need to say to those who make decisions about you, help you understand your rights and help you with a complaint if you're unhappy with the services you receive.
If you wish to speak to an advocate you can call the helpline on 0808 800 5792, or talk to your IRO, social worker or carer to help you make contact with the advocacy service. Helpline advocates work with young people to attempt to address any issues quickly by phone. If this isn't possible, and face to face advocacy is required, this will be arranged, eg if you want support at a meeting such as your LAC review. On receipt of a referral, an advocate will contact the young person (wherever appropriate) to advise of the service and confirm that they would like advocacy help.
All advocates have a background in childcare and child-related professions, and hold a variety of professional qualifications, including social work, teaching, law and psychology. They have all completed the ‘Being A Voice’ four-day advocacy training.