Advocate for Clients

CHCAD401: Advocate for Clients Assessment Tool 3 Project 1

The area that I am interested in exploring relates to advocacy services available to parents, grandparents and kinship relations of children and young people in care. While my role as a Case Manager to these children means that the children are my primary concern. However as an important function of the case manager is to support the identity, culture and growth of the children I am case managing, I regularly deal with birth parents and families. Often it is evident that these families feel frustrated and victimised, rightly or wrongly, for the loss of power and control they have in the lives of the children for whom they have lost parental responsibility or have become known to Child Protection services. This led me to research what advocacy support services are available for families of children in care.

During my research I came across a report by H.Douglas, T. Walsh and K.Blore called “Mothers and the Child Protection System” published in 2009. It focused on mothers’ experiences of Child Protection System and although they recognised that in some cases fathers would be faced with similar issues as mothers encounter, the results of the qualitative research they undertook, combined with relevant literature, suggested that it is mothers who are most likely to interact with child protection systems (Ferguson 2004). Of particular interest in their report is the identification of information and advocacy gaps experienced by mothers dealing with The Child Protection System.

The needs identified by the participants in this 2009 report identified advocacy needs involving a diverse range of roles including support, gathering, storing and finding out information, negotiating with child protection authorities and more formal legal representation. Furthermore a lack of information was also identified by the participants. There seem to be two aspects to the problem of lack of information:
1. In some situations...