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Posted by on in Children and Child Custody
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Disabled children face barriers to advocacy services

A recent report has found that disabled children and young people are having difficulty accessing advocacy services that could bring real improvements to their lives.

 

Advocacy is speaking up for children and young people ensuring that their views and wishes are heard and acted upon by decision-makers. An advocate works closely with a child, helping them in expressing their wishes and feelings when decisions are made about their lives.

 

The report, by The Children's Society, is the outcome of a three year study exploring advocacy services for disabled children and young people in England.

 

The research has found that disabled children and young people often face barriers in accessing advocacy, even though they have a right to express their wishes and feelings when decisions are made about their lives. Lack of awareness around the role of advocacy means many young people are missing out on this vital form of support.

 

Other barriers include a lack of resources, specialist services and training opportunities for advocates.

 

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

 

“Our research takes an in-depth look at advocacy in England. Alarmingly, it seems that advocacy is still not being seen as a priority, but as an ‘add on’ to the care of a disabled child or young person.  

 

'The role of an advocate is unique. They are entirely different from other professionals in a child’s life. For disabled children, some of whom do not use speech to communicate, advocacy can make a tremendous difference to their quality of life. The provision of advocacy is vital in enabling them to express their views.'

 

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