Make UR Voice heard! Get an advocate!
Fed up feeling like nobody is listening or taking you seriously? Or want support to make you feel more confident to speak up?
YLF have a trained team of advocates who help to get your voice heard. Whether you want to make a complaint or simply would like a phone call made on your behalf, an advocate can be there for you.
An advocate is like a megaphone…
…your voice but louder!
**Download the YLF Advocacy Leaflet**
So what is an advocate?
An advocate is a person that can support you to feel more confident to speak for yourself or someone that can speak for you. We have male and female advocates that are well trained and experienced so we know you will get the best quality support. They can answer questions you may have or help you by telling you your rights and choices you have when needing to make decisions. Most importantly they are independent! That means they do not work for social services, schools or anyone else – they work for you!
Can they support someone like me?
Advocates are available to young people of all ages up to 21. They help young people who are involved with Medway Services under a care agreement or young people with mental health issues; so whether you are living in a foster placement, with parents or relatives or in a hospital, an advocate can help you.
How can an advocate help me?
Advocates can help by listening to what you want. An advocate can come to your place for a chat about how you would like to be supported and what issues you need support with. If that isn’t best they can always meet you in a public place like a cafe. They can do this as often as you need to. If you want to write a letter of complaint they can help or just make a phone call. If you need them to come to a meeting they can; perhaps a LAC Review or Family Group Conference. If you have a problem at your school or hospital they can come there too.
And what issues can they try to sort out for me?
Issues can sometimes feel small or unfortunately really major – either way an advocate can do their best to make you feel supported through this time. Maybe you have an issue with your carer, or the place where you are living. Or your education, school or college. Perhaps you feel your social worker isn’t listening or taking your opinion seriously. Or you just need some clarification about your rights. However big or small you can ask for an advocate. They can also help you to make complaints officially through the complaints procedure if you feel your issue is serious.
How else can I get my voice heard?
Well, an advocate might not always be the best way to go about getting your voice heard if you are in care. Perhaps your opinion or issue affects more young people than just you. Perhaps it relates to the way everybody is treated in care. You can still be listened to and make a difference more widely by being a part of the Medway Children in Care Council! This council is for young people in care in Medway and together, a whole group of young people can voice their opinion to professionals who help manage the care system. Find out more at the BIG DIFFERENCE website.