To inform our response to this consultation we heard from 8 care-experienced young people across two sessions to gather insight about their experiences with advocacy services and what currently works well for them, what should be improved and any changes they would like to see.
Our response also builds upon previous engagement with care-experienced young people and insights gathered by our services team; at Become, we offer a range of support services for care-experienced young people, including our Care Advice Line. While we do not provide advocacy services, we do refer and signpost care-experienced children and young people to advocacy services.
We broadly agree with the proposed changes to the standards and guidance and welcome the direction of these changes and commitments. We reaffirm the importance of sufficient and meaningful implementation in practice.
We are concerned about the prominent lack of awareness among care-experienced children and young people concerning their right to advocacy, particularly prior to requiring it.
We welcome the increased focus in ensuring advocacy professionals champion children and young people through targeted training and skills development to understand the needs of the children and young people entitled to advocacy. It is essential that this is sufficiently implemented and aided by adequate funding to advocacy services from local authorities.
We are concerned that there is no notable change in the feedback and complaints procedure, which is currently insufficient. Through our services work, and from hearing directly from care-experienced young people, we know that the opportunity to feedback is scarce and often difficult.
We agree with the expansion of the standards to include children and young people in residential settings; children and young people in secure settings; and children and young people requiring support into adulthood – however, we believe guidance and standards should be expanded to also include young people who may be homeless and/or require accommodation.