Campaign for independent advocacy for looked after children

Document Sample
Campaign for independent advocacy for looked after children Powered By Docstoc
					Campaign for independent advocacy for looked after children

Our Campaign

Looked after children are still not routinely involved when key decisions are being made about their
care, their protection and their lives despite successive legislation and guidance requiring a whole
range of professionals to ensure this happens. 1

Independent advocacy can empower them to have their views taken seriously, understand what is
happening to them and helps them to navigate the system. It also supports children to be aware of
their rights and helps them ensure that they are met.

Optional para
The 13,300 disabled children are placed away from home in England are some of the most vulnerable
children who would most benefit from access to independent advocacy. They live in hospitals, special
schools and residential homes, often miles away from home. Complex impairments can mean they
have serious difficulty communicating. When they feel isolated, unhappy, lonely or unsafe, there is
often no-one who understands them

A survey of advocacy services across England carried out by The Children’s Society between April
and December 2006 found alarmingly that a quarter of advocacy providers surveyed reported that
they had not been able to respond to a referral from a disabled child.

That is why a large group of campaigning organisations including The Children’s Society, VOICE,
Barnardo’s, BAAF, BASW, BILD, CCNUK, Children’s Legal Centre, The Children’s Trust Tadworth,
Contact a Family, CRAE, EDCM, the Early Childhood Forum, Family Fund, First Up!, The Fostering
Network, Kids, Mencap, A National Voice, NSPCC, NDCS, NCB, NCH, NYA, NYAS, Scope, The
Together Trust, TreeHouse, Tros Gynnal, The Who Cares? Trust, and Youth Access are demanding
that the Government thinks again and delivers a statutory right to independent advocacy when
significant decisions are being made in the lives of looked after children.

The Children and Young Persons Bill which is currently before parliament provides an excellent
opportunity to do this. The aim of the bill is to improve outcomes for children in the care system and
we firmly believe that professional independent advocacy must be integral to the strategy

What you can do to help

Ask your MP to sign EDM 1126 tabled by Joan Humble MP

An Early Day Motion (EDM) is a parliamentary petition which MPs can sign to express their support for
a particular issue. It’s crucial that as many MPs as possible sign the EDM for it to have a real impact.

All you need to do is follow these three easy steps:

       1. Find out who your MP is by visiting http://www.upmystreet.com/commons/l/
       2. Find out if your MP has already signed EDM 1126 by looking at the EDM website (add link
          when tabled) where you can see a list of MPs who have signed EDM 1126. Obviously, if they
          have already signed you don’t need to ask them to do so again, but you could email or write to
          thank them for their support for the campaign.
       3. Email or write a letter to your MP asking them to sign the EDM
             • Email them through the campaign website www.childrenssociety.org.uk/campaigns

1
    Section 22[4] [a] and [5] of The Children Act 1989.
           •    Writing to them using the sample letter below as a basis. You can adapt it and use your
                own words to make it more effective. Be sure to include your address, including the
                postcode to show that you are a constituent.


Sample letter


                                                                     Include your address and postcode
[Insert name of MP]
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

[Insert date]
Dear [Insert the name of MP]

I am writing to you to ask you to sign Early Day Motion 1126, tabled by Joan Humble MP. The EDM
reads:

           That this House is concerned that looked after children are still not routinely
           involved when key decisions are being made about their lives, recognises
           that access to professional independent advocacy empowers children to
           have their views taken seriously, keeps children safe, leads to better
           decision-making and improves children's outcomes as a result; and calls on
           the Government to ensure that more looked after children have access to
           professional independent advocacy.

Without access to professional independent advocacy the views and rights of all looked after children
are not currently being adequately heard and promoted.

 This is why a large group of campaigning organisations including The Children’s Society, VOICE,
Barnardo’s, BAAF, BASW, BILD, CCNUK, Children’s Legal Centre, The Children’s Trust Tadworth,
Contact a Family, CRAE, EDCM, the Early Childhood Forum, Family Fund, First Up!, The Fostering
Network, Kids, Mencap, A National Voice, NSPCC, NDCS, NCB, NCH, NYA, NYAS, Scope, The
Together Trust, TreeHouse, Tros Gynnal, The Who Cares? Trust, and Youth Access is calling on the
Government to introduce a statutory right to independent advocacy when significant decisions are
being made in the lives of looked after children.

For more information about the campaign please visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk/campaigns.

Yours sincerely,




[Insert your name]