Independent Advocacy

Campaigning for a statutory right to independent advocacy services

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition is committed to ensuring that care experienced children and young people in Scotland have a statutory right to independent advocacy services.

Being in care can be a difficult environment for a child or young person to cope with. They have been placed in care because their families are unable to provide them with the caring, nurturing and in some cases, safe environments that they deserve. Many children and young people can find the process very daunting and unsettling.

As highlighted by voluntary organisation Who Cares? Scotland, these vulnerable children and young people as a group experience some of the poorest health, educational and employment outcomes of any group in society.  They often leave school early and with no formal qualifications and are less likely to enter positive destinations such as further/higher education, training and employment.

They are also more likely to experience significant problems on leaving care, such as homelessness, mental health problems, long-term illness, unemployment, or end up in the criminal justice system.


A statutory right to advocacy

The role of an advocate is to support and empower the child or young person to be able to express their views, and to assist them in making informed decisions on matters which influence their lives. Independent from other services involved in their lives, advocates help to safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person. They also specifically contribute to the Respected and Included elements of the Curriculum for Excellence’s Wellbeing Indicators.

This support can make a huge difference to the day-to-day and long-term experiences which children and young people have whilst in care, and upon leaving care. It can help children and young people feel like their care is being provided in consultation with them and not something that is being done to them.

We believe that it is vital that care experienced children and young people in Scotland have a statutory right to independent professional advocacy and are committed to delivering this.

For further information on Independent Advocacy, please visit the Who Cares? Scotland website.