Not being listened to? Unhappy about decisions being made about your life? Need help? Need information about your rights? Unhappy about the way you are being treated by Social Services? Need some independent advice?
If you’re a looked after child or young person who is supported or wants the support of Hounslow Social Services a Coram Voice advocate can help you.
Advocates will give you independent advice and any support that you need like meeting with you, supporting you in meetings with your social worker or PA, and helping you to write letters or make complaints.
You can speak to a Coram Voice advocate now! The Coram Voice Helpline is open every weekday from 9.30am to 6pm.
Freephone: 0808 800 5792
Text: 07758 670 369
If English is not your first language we can get an interpreter to help. If you can’t speak on the phone we will try to arrange for you to meet an advocate in person. Our Helpline is staffed by trained advocates who are independent from Hounslow Children's Services. All calls are confidential unless you or someone else is at risk of harm.
Who is the service for?
The Coram Voice advocacy service is for children and young people who are or have been in care, or want the support of Children’s Services, as well as children with disabilities who receive a respite service.
Even if you don’t live in Hounslow you can still get the support of a Coram Voice advocate where you live.
What is advocacy?
Our advocacy service ensures that you have someone independent who can explain your rights and entitlements. Advocates also support you and make sure your views and opinions are heard and taken seriously when decisions are made about your life. Advocates can help you try to get something changed or stopped.
So what does an advocate actually do?
Advocates work for you, to make sure that you understand your rights and also to support you to speak out and be involved in decision making about your life.
For example, you might have a review meeting coming up and want to ask for more contact with your family. You might feel that sometimes it is difficult to speak out at your reviews. An advocate can sit down with you and help you work out what you want to say – your reasons for wanting more contact – and can look at ways you can get your ideas across at the review. They can come to the review with you to make sure your views are listened to, and if necessary they can speak for you.
Or if you are unhappy about something your social worker has said to you, your advocate can help you discuss this with your social worker and try to sort things out. Or if you want to make a complaint about your social worker your advocate can advise you about the complaints process and support you to make your complaint.
Basically, an advocate works for you and helps you sort things out.
Who says that anyone will listen to my views?
Children and young people have a right to be involved in decisions about their lives and to have their views heard and taken seriously. This is the law, as laid down in the Children Act 1989 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Who runs the service?
Coram Voice is an independent charity which means that our advocacy service is completely independent from Hounslow Social Services.
What’s the difference between an advocate and my social worker?
The advocate is there solely for you – to make sure your voice is heard. The advocate just states your views. They don’t make decisions about you.
The social worker has a different role. They must listen to your views, but they also listen to the views of lots of other people involved in your life. Then they have to make a decision about what they think is in your best interests.
Is the service confidential?
Yes. Everything you say to the advocate is confidential. If you tell the advocate that you or another person are being seriously harmed, or knows about a serious crime, they may have to tell someone else. If this is the case, they always speak to you about it first and try to keep you in control of the process as much as possible.
The advocate works in a completely open way with you. If your social worker or carer tells the advocate anything about you, it is likely that the advocate will pass it on to you.