The following stories by Steph and Ryan illustrate the important role that an advocate can play in the life of a young person.
Why I needed an advocate...
I first got an advocate in 2005. I felt I needed an advocate to make my complaint in the correct and the appropriate manner. My complaint was quite serious as it was against social services and I felt like I needed help and support to get the best possible outcome.
Getting in contact with Salford Children’s Rights Service (SCRS) has helped me achieve a number of things, for instance deal with situations in an appropriate manner, training, and other things which will really help me later on in life, both for myself and to the benefit others.
What did SCRS do?
What they did was to get on to social services and complain on my behalf in the correct way. When one of the big bosses came out and apologised to me, I was very pleased and he assured me this would not happen again. I know that it would not have happened without the support and help of Salford Children’s Rights Service.
How it has helped me....
I found that this helped me in many ways - it gave me confidence to complain if needs be, and not keep it to myself. Also it taught me how to do this in the correct and appropriate manner. It also taught me that I am not alone and there are people out there who want to help and support me which I found quite reassuring.
Would you recommend other young people use an advocate?
Yes, I would strongly recommend that other young people get involved with Salford Children’s Rights. I feel that if more looked after children were involved, they would get a lot more out of life, gain more confidence and learn new ways of dealing with things, as well as having fantastic experiences.
- Stephanie, a former looked after child, age 19
I was at a secure unit based in Salford when I was 12 and 14 years old. I was having problems while being in a secure environment with the way I was being treated. I had no one to go to and no one to support me.
Then I met a member of staff called Bev who I now know to be an advocate for Salford Children's Rights Service. Bev supported, advised and discussed my problems with me and helped me say what I needed to in order to have a better experience in secure accommodation.
Since working with Bev I now know my rights and what I am entitled to. I am now more confident, and comfortable with myself since having support. I am also now getting somewhere in life and getting back on track.
Thank you for all your support and help. It is greatly appreciated and I just hope that other children and young people benefit as much as I did from your services.
- Ryan, age 16