‘AdvoCat’, an animated superhero character, will feature in a series of new videos to explain in a fun and engaging way to children aged 11 and under what advocacy is and how it can help them to get their voices heard.
Coram Voice is commissioned by the Department for Education to deliver the National Advocacy Safety Net and Advice Service for England, known as Always Heard. Through this service, Coram Voice became aware that children under the age of 11 do not readily access advocacy and the younger they are the less likely they are to know about it.
In addition, many of the youngest children do not fully understand their situation, with findings from Coram Voice’s 2018 Bright Spots survey* showing that only 51% of four to seven year olds were given a full explanation as to why they were in care, compared to 82% of 11-18 year olds.
Coram Voice worked with young children to find out what would work for them in helping them to express their views about their lives. AdvoCat was developed as a response to this need, and teaches children aged 6-11 about advocacy using engaging language to address the gap in information.
Information about AdvoCat and the new videos will feature on Coram Voice’s new website. The website was developed with the support of Coram Voice’s digital innovators, who are care-experienced young people, and is aimed at young people who are in or on the edge of care and care leavers, as well as the professionals who support them.
With improved accessibility and navigation, the website provides information for young people on their rights, advocacy, leaving care and about the ways they can get their voices heard to make the system better for other young people.
Brigid Robinson, Managing Director of Coram Voice said: “We know through our Always Heard service that too many of the youngest children in care are going without vital advocacy support that can help them to have a say in their lives in order to feel safe, secure and happy.
“We are pleased to launch AdvoCat as part of our new improved website, which we hope will raise awareness of the role of the advocate and how they can help children navigate the care system and ensure that their views and rights are taken into account by decision makers. Feedback has shown that children are extremely enthusiastic about AdvoCat – the everyday superhero who will help them get their voices heard loud and clear.”
AdvoCat will be available nationally free of charge on the Coram Voice website from today, to help improve the lives of children in care and others who depend upon the help of the state. Find out more on the Coram Voice website.