Publication - Advice and guidance

Advocacy in the children's hearings system - national practice model: guidance

Published: 31 Mar 2020

National practice model for children's advocacy in the children’s hearings system.

68 page PDF

352.7 kB

68 page PDF

352.7 kB

Contents
Advocacy in the children's hearings system - national practice model: guidance
Advocacy Relationship Timeline

68 page PDF

352.7 kB

Advocacy Relationship Timeline

Practice guidelines in action

In the previous section, Practice Guidance and Indicators were grouped according to the four key Principles of advocacy which underpin the entire model. This creates a clear, direct link between the actions and behaviours of the advocacy workers and the core beliefs they are to uphold throughout their work. However, the day to day reality is that advocacy workers are not going to stop to identify a specific principle and standard every time they speak to a young person, share information about rights or attend a hearing, nor should they be expected to do so. Therefore, it is equally imperative that the Practice Guidelines are also framed in such a way that they can be easily accessed and identified at particular stages throughout the advocacy process.

The ‘Proposed Standards for Better Hearings’[42] identify what children and young people should expect Before, During and After a hearing. This section details five stages of practice for advocacy workers in the Children’s Hearings System: Throughout, Introductory, Before, During and After. The additional two stages, Throughout and Introductory, offer greater clarity and identifies the Introductory meeting as a unique circumstance which requires special consideration.

Stage 1: Throughout the advocacy process

Practice Guidance that must be continuously practiced throughout the advocacy relationship.

Stage 2: Introductory meeting with a child or young person

Practice Guidance for the introductory meeting with a child or young person, including children and young people who have yet to attend their first Children’s Hearing.

Stage 3: Before a Children’s Hearing

Practice Guidance that will be used before each Children’s Hearing that a child or young person may have during the advocacy relationship.

Stage 4: During a Children’s Hearing

Practice Guidance to be used during a Children’s Hearing.

Stage 5: After a Children’s Hearing

Practice Guidance to be used after a Children’s Hearing has taken place.

Stage 1: Throughout the advocacy process

Practice Guidance

Advocacy workers will be sensitive, supportive and caring throughout, communicating a sense of being alongside the young person.

An advocacy worker must always value and respect the views of the child or young person, always expressing an empathetic viewpoint.

Advocacy workers will tailor communications with children or young people based on their individual needs and requirements.

Advocacy workers must have a range of different creative resources available to explore with the child – using an age, stage and ability appropriate approach.

Advocacy workers will make sure throughout the advocacy relationship that the view and voice of the child or young person is respected.

Advocacy workers will remain aware of their own opinions and prejudices. Advocacy workers should not let their personal opinions, choices and values interfere with the children or young person’s choices.

When receiving advocacy referrals from professionals, the advocacy worker must clearly explain to the professionals around the child or young person, that it is the child or young person's choice whether they take up the offer of advocacy.

Advocacy workers must be robust in their communication with other key professionals about their roles and responsibilities to raise awareness of the service.

Advocacy workers must create networks with other professionals to foster understanding of advocacy services, being proactive with raising awareness of what it offers children and young people to improve access.

Advocacy workers must have excellent up-to-date knowledge and awareness of the Children’s Hearings System and its different processes and legislation.

Advocacy workers must understand the broad range of children and young people's rights and the opportunities within the Children’s Hearings System for the child or young person to seek to exercise these rights. (For example, measures within a Compulsory Supervision Order).

Advocacy workers will be flexible and adaptive to changing contexts when planning how best to provide advocacy services to a child or young person.

Advocacy workers will be sensitive to the child or young person's wishes, as they develop over time during the advocacy relationship.

Advocacy workers will return to explaining and introducing their role both to the child or young person and others, supporting them as required, to ensure understanding.

Advocacy workers will understand the required approach to non-instructed advocacy.

Stage 2: Introductory meeting with a child or young person

Summary

Introduction, making the service offered feel real, personal and understandable.

Start relationship building.

Confirm and support the child’s understanding of the process (alongside central roles for Lead Professional (LP) and SCRA).

Confirm and support the child’s understanding of their rights relating to their participation in the process (alongside central roles for LP and SCRA).

Explain Independent Advocacy and confirm whether the child wishes to have that support.

Ensure that the child is aware that they can ask for that support at any stage.

Practice Guidance

Advocacy workers must clearly explain to the child or young person that they have a choice about whether they want to use the advocacy service and can change their mind at any point of the advocacy relationship.

Advocacy workers must ensure that the child or young person receiving advocacy understands that they are in control of the relationship.

Advocacy workers will take time to directly introduce the service they are offering to the child or young person, what it means and what it offers the child or young person.

Advocacy workers must respect young person’s decision should they decide not to engage in advocacy.

Advocacy workers will state that the offer of advocacy is always available even if young people change their mind.

Advocacy workers will have easily accessible materials to explain the purpose of their role to children, young people, carers and other professionals.

Advocacy workers will also communicate with carers and professionals around the child or young person to make sure they understand the role of advocacy, explaining that it is up to the child or young person to choose to use advocacy.

Advocacy workers will use sufficient time to build the advocacy relationship and work with the child or young person to agree how they want to express their views.

Advocacy workers will make sure they come to an agreement with the child or young person how best they want to make use of the service.

Advocacy workers should explain that any information shared will be up to the child or young person.

Advocacy workers will clearly explain to the child or young person the circumstances in which they would have to share information, if there were risks to themselves or others.

Stage 3: Before a Children’s Hearing

Summary

Explore the child’s views, wishes and concerns.

Explore how the child wishes to communicate those views.

Support the child in doing so, using broad range of options available.

Links with Reporter and Lead Professional to support child’s preferred ways of participating.

Links with Reporter and Lead Professional to support pre-Hearing visit to the hearing venue if child would like to do so.

If the child has received their Child’s Plan, explore whether it accurately captures their views on the assessment, on the plan and on the recommendations made for the Children’s Hearing.

Confirm and support the child’s understanding of their rights in relation to the Grounds of Referral, and what their views are on them.

Links with legal representation for the child if relevant.

Support the child’s understanding of the range of their rights, as they relate to different aspects of their life and their views, wishes and concerns.

Practice Guidance

Before a hearing, advocacy workers will prepare the child or young person to help them understand the range of potential decisions which may be made.

Advocacy workers will reinforce what other professionals have told the child or young person about their situation and upcoming hearing.

If the child or young person is unclear about any aspect of the upcoming hearing, the advocacy worker would help the child or young person access the right information – or ensure that other professionals provide it (i.e. grounds, recommendations and child's plan).

Advocacy workers will ensure that the child or young person understands the grounds for their hearing and the recommendations being put forward. They will help the child or young person to express their views in relation to this information.

Advocacy workers will support the child or young person to access appropriate legal representation, as necessary.

Advocacy workers must explain their role in the Children’s Hearing to the child or young person and that they have control over what the advocacy worker expresses on their behalf.

Advocacy workers will help the child or young person understand the hearing process and explain (if relevant) that they may be excused from appearing at the hearing.

Stage 4: During a Children’s Hearing

Summary

Independent advocacy support immediately prior to and during the hearing.

Support for the child to participate in the hearing in whatever way best suits them, including asking to speak to the hearing on their own with support from their advocacy worker.

Communicate their views, wishes and concerns in whatever way best suits them.

Ensure that any material prepared by the child prior to the hearing is considered at the hearing.

Practice Guidance

Advocacy workers will have a clear understanding of the distinctness of their role within the Children's Hearings process and the responsibilities of other professionals.

Advocacy workers will make sure that the child or young person can be supported to directly express their views and opinions, in a way that suits them.

During the hearing, advocacy workers will be there for the child or young person if needed by them. The advocacy worker will speak up for the child or young person if they want them to and will listen to what is happening at the hearing.

During the hearing, the issues identified, and views expressed by the child or young person before the hearing must be introduced, examined and reiterated when necessary.

Advocacy workers should only share information that the child or young person has agreed to sharing in a Children's Hearing.

Stage 5: After a Children’s Hearing

Summary

Confirm and support the child’s understanding of what has taken place and what has been decided (alongside central roles for Lead Professional and SCRA).

Confirm and support the child’s understanding of their procedural rights, including in relation to any Court proof application, appeal and early review (alongside central roles for Lead Professional and SCRA).

Link with legal representation for the child as appropriate.

Confirm and support the child’s understanding of ongoing processes such as Child’s Plan/Team Around the Child reviews (alongside central role for Lead Professional).

Explain and support the child’s understanding of and access to independent advocacy support in those processes (with the same advocacy worker providing that relationship-based service if possible).

Practice Guidance

After the hearings, the advocacy workers will make sure the young person is okay, will reinforce their understanding of what happened and explore next steps for ongoing advocacy.

After outcomes and decisions have been made in the Children’s Hearings System the advocacy worker will make sure the child or young person understands what this means and any change in circumstances, alongside other professionals.

Advocacy workers must have a good understanding of legal representation for a child or young person within the Children’s Hearings System and in appeals processes and must be able to communicate this to the child or young person they are working with.

Advocacy workers will support the child or young person to access appropriate legal representation, as necessary.


Contact

Email: CYPAdvocacy@gov.scot