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Children in Care Missing out on Advocacy Services

Children Commissioner’s report proposals for improvements

Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England, has published a report Helping children get the care experience they need – independent advocacy for children and young people in care.

The report highlights the importance of an independent advocate to ensure that the views and wishes of children in care who don't have their family to offer help and guidance, are communicated clearly and taken into account.  The report also emphasises how "Advocates can broker additional help and protection if needed."

The Commissioner commented,

"We have found that although authorities should be advertising advocacy to vulnerable children, as well as providing an advocate, too often this is not happening. Children often do not know or understand about their rights to an advocate. Sometimes there isn't the budget to provide the service needed."

The report recommends that:

• National standards and guidance for advocacy are reviewed

• Practice guidance on 'what works' in delivering high quality advocacy support is produced, including guidance on commissioning

• Advocacy is included in Ofsted's framework of inspection

• Local authorities and mental health providers should ensure all children and young people in care are made aware of advocacy services

• Availability and take up of advocacy is monitored to ensure those children less likely to access advocacy – younger children, disabled children and children in care placements out of their local area – get the support they need.

For the press release click here

To read the report click here