Can a parent with a mental health condition get help from an advocate or supporter in meetings with children’s services?
2 minute read
At times, parents may find it hard to participate in meetings organised by their child’s social worker and others. A parent or carer who feels like this may find it easier if they are supported by an advocate. Or if they are helped by a supporter.
An advocate is usually someone independent who can help a parent or carer have their voice heard when plans or decisions are being made about their child. A supporter could be a friend of the family who is not directly involved in your current situation. That person can come to meetings and help them say what they would like to say.
An advocate (or supporter) can help a parent or carer to:
- Prepare for meetings with social workers
- Ask the social worker questions
- Speak up and help get their point of view across
- Reach agreements/negotiate with social workers
- Challenge social workers or others (in a constructive way) if mistakes have been made or what they are saying is not agreed with
- Remember what was said and agreed at a meeting and help plan what to do next.
Whether a parent or carer can have an advocate depends on the precise situation.
Note that only where a parent or carer’s mental health condition is classed as a disability may the right to have an advocate arise.
More detailed advice about advocacy and advocates
Parents or carers who want to bring an advocate to a meeting with children’s services may want to visit our Top tips and templates page to: