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Disabled children missing out on advocacy services

Advocacy for disabled children and young people can lead to considerable improvements for them and their families, yet many are missing out on this vital support, says a new report from The Children’s Society.


The research has found that disabled children and young people often face barriers in accessing advocacy, even though they have a right to express their wishes and feelings when decisions are made about their lives. Lack of awareness around the role of advocacy means many young people are missing out on this vital form of support.


Other barriers include a lack of resources, specialist services and training opportunities for advocates.


The report found that advocacy was often only commissioned when cases were extremely complex and had reached serious levels of concerns. In some cases professionals felt that disabled children and young people were unable to express their views, yet the charity has seen first-hand the benefits of advocacy, however complex a need the disabled child or young person may have. 


The charity has also produced a guide for commissioners, which looks at the legal framework for the provision of advocacy to children and young people and the benefits of a good advocacy service. The charity is urging local authorities to ensure that access to advocacy is available for disabled children whether they live at home or in residential care. 


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