Advocacy and the Charter
A child or young person in care has not always had the time to develop the knowledge, skills or confidence to express their wishes or advocate for themselves. In the absence of parents or relatives, other adults can and should act to ensure that the voice and interests of each child and young person in care are represented. This is individual advocacy – and the Charter of Rights can help.
A Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care is required in State Government legislation and almost every agency that works with children and young people in care in South Australia has endorsed the Charter and undertaken to apply it in their policy and practice. Each endorsing agency, their staff and volunteers are empowered and obliged to act on behalf of a child or young person if they identify a need.
As well as having their voice heard and their rights addressed, being involved with the advocacy process can allow young people to learn valuable lessons; that they have rights, including the right to be heard, that rights can be negotiated to achieve better outcomes and the value of persistence. Advocacy can promote a positive sense of self in a young person and the confidence to interact with the world.
For adults preparing to engage in advocacy, we have prepared a fact-sheet for download called Individual advocacy and the Charter of Rights, containing some information, examples and additional resources.