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New children’s advocate in post 31 October 2006

The Department of Health and Social Security’s Social Services Division have appointed an advocate for children with disabilities. The post, established in July 2006, is the first of its kind in the Island, and brings to the fore that the children of today are the future of tomorrow.

Steve Rodan, Minister for Health and Security said,

“We must recognise the position that children hold within society. Given the right opportunity they have a very powerful voice and should be allowed the chance to have their say and have their opinions valued and respected”

Trevor Noden, Assistant Director for Children and Families said,

“The ultimate aim is to put the child at the heart of the service. This is achieved by listening to, and co-operating with the needs and requests of the child or young person”.

The advocate, Ellen Hoskisson, is an Island resident and a graduate in Childhood Studies of Liverpool John Moores University. Speaking about the role, Ellen said,

“I am delighted to be involved in such a new venture and through my role as a children’s advocate, I hope to make a real difference to children’s lives”.

The intention behind creating a post of this nature is to give children with disabilities the opportunity to voice their opinions relating to decisions that have a direct impact upon how they live their lives. Such decisions could be connected with health, education, family and recreation/leisure.

In this context, the term advocate refers to welfare advocacy, not legal advocacy. With this in mind, part of the advocate’s role involves empowering and enabling children and young people to have a voice, by providing information, advice and support as well as advocacy.

Through encouraging self-advocacy, the child or young person is enabled and supported to make informed and free choices, allowing them to speak for themselves if they wish.

The advocacy service also aims to make children aware of their rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). These are a universal set of rights that reflect experiences of childhood for children at different stages in their life, for example, the right to a name, identity, health, education, and a voice.

The service is open to all children with disabilities, not just children who presently receive services provided by the social services department. To find out more about how the advocacy service can help you, contact:

Ellen Hoskisson
Children’s Advocate
3rd Floor Markwell House
Market Street
Isle of Man
IM1 2RZ
Tel: (01624) 685015
Mobile: (07624) 460694

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