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The value of independent advocacy for looked after children and young people

Children and young people who are in care have a right to have their views and feelings heard and to be involved in decisions made about their lives. When this happens, and happens well, it improves the child’s experience in care, which in turn promotes positive outcomes for them in the future.

Independent advocates play a vital role in ensuring that children in care have their views heard and acted upon. However, as this report shows, access to quality independent advocacy is inconsistent, varying by where the child or young person lives or what their additional needs are.

The Children’s Society runs nine advocacy programmes across England. They provide support to children living in care, children leaving care and children with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities. We conducted a review of this practice base, looking at the characteristics of the children we work with, how we support them in practice, how effective we are in communicating their views, how frequently their issues are resolved, and how much this all costs.
The report sets out our methodology, our findings in detail and case studies illustrating the support we have provided to children.