All children and young people have the right to have their views, wishes and feelings taken into account when decisions are made about their lives. Government policy, guidance and legislation have recognised and supported this right.
However, the evidence suggests that the participation of disabled children and young people in decision-making lags behind that of their non disabled peers. Advocacy is one way to facilitate disabled children’s involvement in decision-making but there is very limited information on the accessibility, use of, and benefits of advocacy for disabled children and young people.
Our latest report, published by our research team, Someone on our side, attempts to begin to fill this gap. It confirms that there are still barriers that prevent disabled children and young people from accessing advocacy services even though many report the benefits of having an advocate for disabled children, young people and their families.
In order to support the findings of the research, we have also produced an advocacy guide for commissioners, which will help local authorities to plan and design independent, professional advocacy services for all children.