Cheshire West and Chester Children’s Rights Service
Programme Manager: Barbara McDade
Cheshire West and Chester Children’s Rights Service provides advocacy and independent visitor services for children and young people who are looked after, or who are care leavers of Cheshire West and Chester Social Care regardless of where they are living.
The programme also offers advocacy for children and young people with disabilities, covering several important areas:
- listening carefully to children who need to get their views and feelings across
- giving children a voice in decisions that affect their lives
- ensuring young people’s rights are respected and that they are treated
- helping them solve problems in ways that feel comfortable to them
- advocacy for children with complex communication needs, severe learning difficulties and children without speech
- non-instructed advocacy for children with severe communication impairments (where the advocate gains information from those who know the child well and gauges what the child’s views are by observing their behaviour).
Children and young people can choose to have an independent visitor to befriend them. This is a volunteer who will get to know the child or young person by taking them out and doing activities together. The independent visitor is someone who is committed to developing a relationship with the child or young person based on trust and friendship.
The child or young person and the independent visitor will usually meet up for at least two hours a fortnight. Activities that children and young people take part in with their independent visitors include:
- sharing hobbies
- things that the child or young person might like to do.