Limited access to independent advocacy
The use of advocacy is considered to be one way to progress the achievement of a disabled child's right to participate in decision-making. The survey, undertaken by The Children's Society, shows that, between April and December 2006, only 64 services provided advocacy to an estimated 877 disabled children, just 2.6% of all the disabled children receiving services in 2005. Since the beginning of April 2006, a quarter of services reported that they had not been able to respond to a referral from a disabled child at all. Particularly alarming were the findings that the children likely to be the most vulnerable were even less likely to receive an advocacy service.
- Over two fifths of services reported that they could not provide advocacy for children and young people who do not verbally communicate.
- An eight of services could not provide for those who had moderate to severe learning disabilities.
- Over a third of services could not provide advocacy for autistic children and young people.
- A tenth of services could not provide advocacy on any of these groups.