Advocacy in Child Welfare
2 minute read
Research* shows that family advocates can help families to work in partnership with social workers in the interests of children.
Family Rights Group advisers have significant experience in advocating for parents and wider family members within the child welfare system.
We have produced Professional Advocacy Standards. We have also published a Code of Practice for Professional Advocates working with families involved with the child welfare system.
In addition we can be commissioned to deliver training on child welfare law and practice to voluntary and community organisations – including those in the domestic abuse field – who advocate for parents. To discuss commissioning a course or consultancy work contact Pam Ledward firstname.lastname@example.org.
Families with experience of the child welfare system are directly involved in developing our resources and co-delivering our training courses.
Advocacy means assisting people to make informed choices, not making decisions for them.
The advocate’s role is to enable the family members:
- To have their voice heard
- To participate, as far as practicable, in the decisions being made about their child
- To have their viewpoint taken into account.
Advocates can help family members, for example, to:
- Prepare for meetings with social workers
- Ask the social worker questions including clarifying any local authority concerns
- Speak up and get their point of view across, including at child protection conferences and other local authority meetings
- Reach agreements or negotiate with social workers
- Challenge social workers or other professionals in a constructive way if the family member thinks a mistake has been made or does not agree with what professionals are saying
- Recall what was said and agreed at a meeting so that the family member can plan what to do next.