Our History

It started in a London living room in 1975. Since then Coram Voice has grown to become the leading national charity for the voice of children in care

In the beginning

In 1975, social worker Gwen James met in her living room with other social workers worried that children in care were not being listened to and from this the charity Voice for The Child in Care was born. 

Their aim then as it is now was to ensure that children in care are listened to and involved in decisions made about them.   

That was just the start of the journey…


Coram Voice’s first advocacy case supporting a seven-year-old girl. 


The International Year of the Child and we launch our ‘A Voice in Their Lives’ campaign promoting the need for young people to have an independent person to act as an advocate. The telephone helpline in Gwen’s home is inundated.


Coram Voice establishes the first visiting advocacy service to secure children’s homes.


The Children Act (1989) incorporates a complaints process for children in care and the concept of an independent person working alongside the investigating officer during the investigation of complaints.


Coram Voice launches our first community advocacy service in the London Borough of Greenwich.


In October the Children Act (1989) is implemented, recognising the importance of listening to the wishes and feeling of children in decision making.

Coram Voice establishes the first service providing Independent People for Children Act complaints.


Our London-wide advocacy service is launched with the first advocacy helpline  and a team of advocates supporting children and young people from across the capital.


Coram Voice’s successful advocacy for secure children’s home leads to a request to set up the first visiting advocacy service to Medway Secure Training Centre.


Coram Voice found and co-chair the National Children’s Advocacy Consortium, bringing together the main advocacy providers to campaign for advocacy as a legal right.


The Children (Leaving Care Act) 2001 is implemented and Coram Voice publish the first edition of ‘Sorted & Supported, a guide for young people, explaining their rights as care leavers


After intense lobbying, advocacy is enshrined in law, giving young people the right to an advocate when making a complaint.

The National Advocacy Standards written with Coram Voice were introduced.


The Home Office ask Coram Voice to develop the model for advocacy provision in all young offender institutions and secure training centres.


Coram Voice’s advocacy service for children in youth-offending institutions and secure training centres nationally begins


Coram Voice launches the ‘The Alliance for Child Centred Care’ with the goal of improving outcomes and bringing about a truly child-centred care system.

We establish our specialist projects to support care leavers and children and young people with disabilities.


Coram Voice wins the Skills for Care Accolades Award for “most effective practice in workforce development across partner agencies” for our work with Kirklees Council to improve looked after children’s reviews.


We create It’s My Review publication to put children and young people in the driving seat of their reviews


Publication of  ‘Where’s my Advocate?’, commissioned by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. It is the first report of its kind.


We pilot our groundbreaking Homeless Outreach Project in London, removing  young people from homelessness and ensuring they receive the support from children’s services they are entitled to.


Coram Voice joins the Coram group of charities in October.

Our Bright Spots programme, a partnership with the University of Bristol, launches to understand from children’s point of view their care journey and what their experiences of it are like.


Coram Voice’s report The Door Is Closed’  highlights the work of our Homeless Outreach project and provides evidence of children who are homeless because they are not provided with the services they are entitled to.


Coram Voice develops a new search tool for young people so they can find out where their local advocacy service is.

We launch Voices, the only national writing competition for children and young people in care.


The ‘Your Life Your Care‘ survey, developed by Bright Spots  is rolled out across six local authorities.  It gathers the views of 611 children and young people in care and  the first Bright Spots report ‘Our Lives, Our Care – looked after children’s views on their well-being’ is published.


Coram Voice is awarded  the National Advocacy Advice Line and Safety Net and Always Heard is born, making sure that no child in England will ever be without advocacy when they need it.

In July, Coram Voice was delighted to have been to become the home for A National Voice – the only organisation run by and for children and young people in and leaving care.

The Bright Spots Programme extends its mission to give care experienced young people a voice with the development of ‘Your Life Beyond Care’ – a survey asking care leavers about their lives and experience of leaving care. Thirty care experienced young people in two local authorities helped us write the questions and tell us about what is important to them.


We set up ‘Project Advocacy’, a ground breaking collaboration with Essex police and local advocacy providers to ensure young people in contact with the police who need advocacy get it.

Our Bright Spots Programme is the biggest national survey of looked after children’s views on their lives and experience, reaching 3,885 children and young people from 23 local authorities.

We launch the first videos on YouTube developed by young people in care describing what advocacy is.


We employ care experienced Digital Creatives who produce eight films with other young people about your rights leaving care