Advocacy and Your Rights
Listening to you and having your say
When you are looked after, lots of decisions are made about you and your life. The people who are responsible for your care must make sure they find out your views, wishes and feelings about anything that concerns you. Your views will be listened to and taken seriously before any decisions are made.
You can have your say by:
- Talking one to one with your Social Worker or carers
- Joining the Wrexham Young People’s Care Council
- Filling in a Consultation Booklet to prepare for your LAC Review
- Going to the Review meetings or talking to your Independent Reviewing Officer
- Having an independent advocate
- Making a complaint
What is an Advocate?
As a looked after child/child on the Child Protection register, you are offered something called advocacy. You might not have heard of it, but Advocacy is really good as it can help you to have your voice heard at meetings and it can tell you what your rights are. Advocates can be really helpful people to speak to because they don’t work for social services or education or any other public service – they are independent and only work for you.
If you want an advocate please speak to your Social Worker or Independent Safeguarding Reviewing Officer who can arrange for an advocate to meet with you to tell you more about how they can help.
You can also contact an advocate yourself on:
- Phone number: 0800 111 6880
- Email: email@example.com
- Information on North Wales Advocacy can be found at: Tros Gynnal Plant (TGP) Webpage
Active Offer of Advocacy
An ‘active offer of Advocacy is the sharing of information about your statutory right and entitlement to have access to an Independent Professional Advocacy Service.
Children and young people are entitled to an active offer of advocacy from a statutory Independent Professional Advocate (IPA) when they become looked after or become subject of child protection enquiries leading to an Initial Child Protection Conference.
Information shared includes an explanation about the role of the Independent Professional Advocacy Service, what it can and cannot do, how it operates based on a child or young person’s views, wishes and feelings, its independence and how it works solely for the child/young person. The information that is shared also explains the statutory right of children and young people to be supported to express their views, wishes and feelings as well as their right to make a representation or complaint.
Information is also shared about wider networks of support available to a child or young person including formal/practitioner advocacy (i.e. teacher, social worker, health professional), informal advocacy (a family member or carer) and peer advocacy as well as information and contact details for the MEIC Helpline and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Office.
Wrexham Young People’s Care Council
The Young People’s Care Council collects the views of all looked after children and care leavers in Wrexham and ensures these views are listened to and acted upon by working with the staff of the Children’s Social Care Department to support the improvements in looked after children and care leavers’ lives.
What can I do if I’m unhappy?
We listen to your views and we will always try our best, but we can’t always promise that what you want is possible.
Wherever you are living you should feel safe and looked after. But no one’s perfect and there might be times when you don’t get on with everyone you are living with, or you might be unhappy with a decision that has been made. If this happens, you should tell someone you trust so they can help you sort things out. You can speak to whoever is caring for you, your Social Worker, your Independent Safeguarding Reviewing Officer or another person you trust.
If you are unhappy with what any person working with you has done, you have a right to make a complaint. You can contact the Complaints Officer in any of the following ways or ask your Social Worker or advocate to help you to do this:
- Contact Gareth, Frankie or Ian at:
Complaints Team, Wrexham County Borough Council Guildhall, Wrexham, LL11 1AY
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 01978 292087
- (Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5pm)
You can also access a Comment, Compliment and Complaints Form, which can be found at: Comment Compliment and Complaint Form
Knowing your rights
You have rights. Every child and young person under the age of 18 years has rights no matter who you are, where you live, or your situation. It’s important for you to know what your rights are so you know when you are not being treated properly.
The United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (also known as UNCRC) is a list of 42 promises that governments have made to children and young people and these are what you have the right to:-
- Be treated with respect
- Say what you think and feel about decisions made that affect you
- Have your language, culture, race, gender, sexuality and religion respected
- Have a private life
- Have protection from being hurt or badly treated
- An education and health care
- A safe place to live
- Not to be punished in a cruel or hurtful way
What are your rights?
Information on the UNCRC can be found in the following link: Children’s Rights
Every young person is going to have a different experience in school, but it is important that you are supported in school to be the best that you can be. The guide below will tell you about your rights to Education and the law in Wales. It will tell you what a Personal Education Planning Meeting is and how to have more of a say:
Getting your voice heard in your review meeting can be a challenge! The guide below will give you some practical tips and ideas on how to be more involved in the future: