If you feel:
- you're not being listened to
- unhappy about decisions being made about your life
- need help
- need information about your rights
- unhappy about the way you are being treated by social services
- in need of independent advice
If you're a looked after child or young person who is supported or wants the support of Hounslow social services a Coram Voice can help you if you have concerns about the support you are receiving.
Advocates will give you independent advice and any support that you may need.
This could be meeting with you and giving you advice, supporting you in meetings with your social worker or personal assistant and helping you to write letters or make complaints.
Get support now
Contact Coram Voice helpline
Open every weekday from 9.30am to 6pm. If English is not your first language we can get an interpreter to help. If you can't speak on the phone we will try to arrange for you to meet an advocate in person.
Our helpline is staffed by trained advocates who are independent from Hounslow Children's Services. All calls are confidential unless you or someone else is at risk of harm.
About the service
The Coram Voice advocacy service is for children and young people who:
- are or have been in care
- are not in care but want the support of Children's Services
- have a disability and receive a respite service.
Even if you don't live in Hounslow you can still get the support of a Coram Voice advocate where you live.
An advocacy service ensures that you have someone independent who can explain you rights and entitlements. Advocates also support you and make sure your views and opinions are heard and taken seriously when decisions are made about your life. Advocates can help you try to get something changed or stopped.
What an advocate does
Advocates work for you, to make sure that you understand your rights and also to support you to speak out and be involved in decision making about your life.
For example you might have a review meeting coming up and want to ask for more contact with your family. You might feel that sometimes it is difficult to speak out at your reviews. An advocate would sit down with you and help you work out what you want to say; your reasons for wanting more contact and they will look at ways you can get your ideas across at the review.
They will come to the review with you to make sure your views are listened to, and if necessary speak on your behalf.
If you are unhappy about something your social worker had said to you, your advocate could help you discuss this with your social worker and try to sort things out. If you wanted to make a complaint about your social worker your advocate would advise you about the complaints process and support you to make your complaint.
Children and young people have a right to be involved in decisions about their lives and to have their views heard and taken seriously.
This is the law, as laid down in the Children Act 1989 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Coram Voice is an independent charity which means that the advocacy service is completely independent from Hounslow Social Services.
The difference between an advocate and my social worker
The advocate is there solely for you - to make sure your voice is heard. The advocate just states your views. They don't make decisions about you.
The social worker has a different role. They must listen to your views, but they also listen to the views of lots of other people involved in your life. Then they have to make a decision about what they think is in your best interests.
The service is confidential
Yes, everything you say to the advocate is confidential.
However, if you tell the advocate that you or another person are being seriously harmed, or you know about a serious crime, they may have to tell someone else. If this is the case, they always speak to you about it first and try to keep you in control of the process as much as possible.
The advocate works in a completely open way with you. If your social worker or carer tells the advocate anything about you, it is likely that the advocate will pass it on to you.
You can speak to a Coram Voice advocate now.
Freephone: 0808 800 5792
Text: 07758 670 369