Advocacy for Young People

Circles Network has built an enviable reputation for providing individual independent and professional advocacy for adults and particularly specialist support for those with disabilities or mental health concerns.

This year we have begun to thread advocacy into our children and young people’s services. This is proving to be exceptionally valuable but also very challenging and we are quickly building our expertise.

Developing trust and growing relationships with young people has led to some very humbling experiences as young people have felt safe and supported enough by our advocates to begin to share some very personal information and to ask for help. With their permission we have been able to channel privileged information to professionals and to ensure these young people have been able to access the right professionals and gained the expert support they need, such as drug and alcohol addiction councillors and eating disorder specialists.

Working with young people can be politically very sensitive and challenging, requiring great levels of tact and diplomacy in order to keep lines of communication open. The skills employed by our advocates are evident. Growing trust and word of mouth amongst young people have led to a steady increase in requests for support and service providers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of advocacy involvement for those young people who are considered very isolated and marginalised.

Our work in supporting the transition between children’s and adult services has given us the opportunity to make recommendations that have been accepted by local authorities to embed the provision of advocacy for all disabled young people going through transition. Circles Network believes that advocacy is a valuable tool for working with young people and we will look for opportunities wherever possible to build this provision into our own and into local projects whenever possible.

 


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