Children in the care of the state have the RIGHT to a family, a RIGHT to a childhood and a RIGHT to be treated fairly.
We are working on three main priority areas that flow from this overall influencing priority:
- Increasing access to independent advocacy for children in care and care leavers, to ensure they can access independent advocacy to support them to be involved in the decisions about their lives
- Through our Bright Spots project improve local authorities policy and practices in regards to services they provide for children and young people in care and care leavers
- Informed by the experiences of children and young people obtained through our advocacy casework and participation activities, influence the government agenda including legislation, by analysis and identification of the laws and national practice that needs changing in regards to children’s rights.
Bright Spots Project
The Bright Spots project is a joint partnership between Coram Voice and the Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies at the University of Bristol, which aims to give local authorities a better understanding of the practices that contribute to a positive care experience. The project, which is funded by the Hadley Trust, is unique as it gives children and young people the opportunity to share, from their own, perspective, their experiences of what makes a good care journey.
There will be four phases to the project and key indicators of what makes a good care journey will be established through an analysis of the findings of a literature review; views of different groups of professionals; and the views of children and young people in care. Once the indicators have been established, the aim will be to use this learning to improve children's services and to share the learning to influence national policy on children in care.
For further information on this project and to find out which local authorities are participating, click here.
National Children's Advocacy Consortium
The National Children's Advocacy Consortium (NCAC) is a coalition of organisations working together to improve access to advocacy for vulnerable children and young people including; children in need, in care, care leavers and children involved in the youth justice.
NCAC believes that children have the right to access an independent advocate to help them represent their views about the decisions that will impact on their lives. The consortium aims to:
- Raise awareness of advocacy issues;
- Lobby and campaign for legislation and policy which furthers the cause of advocacy for vulnerable children and young people; and
- Promote good practice to support the ongoing development of a sustainable and effective advocacy sector.
Members of NCAC include Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, NSPCC, NYAS, Reconstruct and Coram Voice.
Listen to Me Report
In July 2012, NCAC produced a report which was sent to the former Children's Minister, Tim Loughton MP, addressing the need for government to strengthen the statutory guidance so that all children in care have access to advocacy. Click here to read the report.
The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers
The Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers is a broad coalition of organisations working with children and young people who either have care experience or have been affected by the care system. The Alliance comes together to promote improvements in the care system in England.
The Alliance is co-chaired by Coram Voice's Head of Policy and Practice Development, Linda Briheim-Crookall.
For further information about the work of the Legal and Policy Unit please get in touch:
Linda Briheim-Crookall, Head of Policy and Practice - Linda.Briheim-Crookall@coramvoice.org.uk or 0207 239 7528.