Advocacy is about speaking up for children and young people, making sure that their rights are respected and their views heard. Advocates explain the views and needs of children and young people to decisions-makers and help them to find their way around the decision-making process.
Children in Wales has been working to promote the provision of high quality advocacy services for children and young people for a number of years. In 2000 the Waterhouse Report, Lost in Care, was published. The report looked into the abuse of children and young people looked after in state care in North Wales, and among its recommendations was the establishment of independent advocacy services, and the establishment of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales. Children in Wales has been working with the office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales and our member organisations to help realise this vision of independent advocacy services to help protect children from abuse and harm, and to ensure mechanisms are in place to enable their voices to be heard.
Despite the progress that has been made since the Waterhouse report, children and young people continue to report low level knowledge about advocacy provision and services. The vision of ensuring that all children and young people, especially those most vulnerable, have access to independent advocacy services has yet to be fully realised.
Children in Wales’ work in this area includes:
- Co-ordinating the All Wales Children and Young Peoples Advocacy Providers Group
- Co-ordinating the Children and Young People’s Advocacy Practice Exchange Group
- Chairing the Cywaith Management Board which oversees the MEIC advocacy and advice service
- Proactively engaging with Welsh Government, Children’s Commissioner for Wales and other external stakeholders
- Proactively working with our member organisations who deliver advocacy services to children and young people
- Campaigning and lobbying to influence the advocacy policy agenda
- Proactively working with advocacy frontline practitioners to aid and support their development
The MEIC Cymru website has search facility for finding advocacy projects in your area, along with details about each service and an interactive map. This useful resource can be found on under ‘In Your Area’ in the Professions section of the MEIC website: https://www.meiccymru.org/in-your-area/.
For more information about any of these issues please contact: Sean O’Neill, Policy Director, Sean.Oneill@childreninwales.org.uk.
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