Independent advocacy offers one to one support and representation for disadvantaged children and young people. These include children and young people who:
- are in the care of Dorset County Council (DCC) from birth to 18 years
- are leaving the care of DCC, up to the age of 25
- are involved in Child Protection processes from birth to 18 years
- are a child in need between birth and 18
- want to make a complaint
- have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and are transitioning from Children's to Adult Services up to the age of 18
- are undergoing capacity and best interests assessments for young people under the Mental Capacity Act up to the age of 18
Advocates listen to children and young people with specific issues and support them. They can help by:
- discussing different options
- sorting problems
- raising concerns
They can also help you prepare for and attend meetings, either with or for young people. This helps make sure that the young people have a voice and that their views are heard and taken into account when making decisions.
Advocates can also offer support if a young person wants to make a complaint.
When to use an advocate
You can ask to have an advocate if:
- you're unhappy, angry or upset with your care
- you feel you haven't been fairly treated
- you feel you aren't being involved in decisions about you or your care
- no one's telling you what's happening about your care or your situation
- you want to discuss something
- you want to make a complaint
- you want help to prepare for a meeting
- you want someone to go to a meeting with you
Make a referral for independent advocacy
We've commissioned Action for Children to provide independent advocacy services for Dorset. This is a free service for children and young people who meet the criteria. Anyone can refer a child or young person, including the young person themselves.
Contact Action for Children
Action for Children run Dorset Nightstop which provides emergency accommodation for homeless young people aged between 16 and 25. Young people stay in the homes of carefully recruited, fully checked and trained volunteers who are supported by project staff.
Accommodation is on a 'one night at a time' basis, for a maximum of 3 nights. Nightstop aims to keep young people in a safe, friendly environment, while allowing agencies to look at long-term solutions to their homelessness.