Welcome to our Blog! We wanted to share with you our journey with Avocados. What we are doing, how and more importantly why. Life can be so busy and hectic and with the world as it is at the moment, really confusing and different, we wanted to use this space to share and chat about some of these thoughts.
So, where did it all start? First off, there is no big and meaningful reason behind the name Avocados Advocacy – when Katie was telling a friend about her legal advocacy idea it autocorrected to avocados and well, just stuck. J
So, what is legal Advocacy? Well we need to take you back a bit..
Imagine being in care. Well, for many people reading this you don’t need to imagine, right? Imagine a childhood of confusion and often chaos. Now imagine getting to 18, 19, 20 years old and not really knowing or understanding what happened, why or how. You’d have question’s, right? For some you can go to your PA, your social worker, your leaving care team or whatever it is called in your area. But, what if you don’t have that worker, or you struggle to communicate with them? How do you get these questions answered, where do you start to find out these answers?
So, now you want to know what happened; you feel that you are ready to know but where do you start? There are links to websites and processes but you’ve possibly spent most of your life in processes and filling in forms and feeing like you have to wait for answers, or not even getting them at all. That’s what happened for Katie. She wanted answers but she didn’t know where to go to get that support. She wasn’t linked in with a worker; she didn’t know the processes or even what a care leaver was; let alone that she qualified as one. She didn’t know there was a local offer for care leavers, and it wasn’t until her Lecturers at University helped, (luckily she studies law!) that she started to understand and learn how she could find out more and that there was support that she was entitled too. Through her other work with other care leavers, she realised she was not alone in this.
Now for many care leavers, they might be linked in and supported and be aware but there are lots of young people, for many different reasons, who are not. That’s where legal advocacy was born. What it if there was a local service that could support care leavers with accessing advice and support around these questions, to understand where to go, what all the terms and acronyms mean and then have support to make sense of it all? What if there was a service that could help them find, understand and receive their entitlements?
S.20. S.17, s.31, Child in Need, Child in Care, Child Protection, Safeguarding, Care Orders, Kinship/special guardianship, Supervision, Contact Arrangements, Local Offers and Proceedings to name but a few. All these terms are legal and have duties or rules attached to them, in terms of what they mean and what should happen. But, for the children who lived it they have emotional meaning, memories, lived experiences - whether good or bad or indifferent.
We are so excited that The Blagrave Trust also see the potential with our legal advocacy project and have partnered with us to fund getting the project and Avocados up and running.
Next steps, we are working with the law Clinic at the University of Exeter to get the Law students involved. Paperwork in motion then recruiting and training. This service will be for those with Care Experience and over 18 initially.
If you have any questions about anything in this blog, please chat with us, email or use the forum.
Watch this space for updates..
For more information and referrals email firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie and Rach x