To read this content please select one of the options below:

“They seem to listen more now I have an advocate”: a study into the implementation of parental advocacy in Wales

Lilly Evans (CASCADE, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Samantha Fitz-Symonds (CASCADE, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Fiona Long (CASCADE, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Louise Roberts (CASCADE, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Clive Diaz (CASCADE, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Shane Powell (CASCADE, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 17 April 2024

Issue publication date: 27 June 2024

30

Abstract

Purpose

Parental advocacy is an emerging area of research and policy interest in Wales and across the UK. Although there is little research in the UK context to date, international research has indicated that parental advocacy can improve the relationship between parent and professional in the field of child protection social work. This paper aims to ascertain how the implementation of a parental advocacy programme supports parents to play a meaningful role in decision-making when children’s services are working with them and their families.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used interviews, surveys and focus groups to obtain qualitative data from 18 parents, seven parent advocates, two advocacy managers and four social workers, to explore the potential impact of parental advocacy on decision-making. The study identified challenges in implementing parental advocacy, particularly relating to awareness of the service. Participants also discussed experiences of the child protection system and how parents are supported by advocates.

Findings

Despite challenges surrounding implementation, initial findings were encouraging, and generated examples of how parental advocacy services have helped parents to understand children’s services and develop relationships of trust with social care professionals. In doing so, this study identified potential mechanisms that may be useful to support future service delivery.

Originality/value

This paper and research is novel as it explores parental advocacy within the Welsh context. Although there has been research conducted into parental advocacy, this has largely come from the USA. This research comes from the evaluation of an innovative and promising parental advocacy scheme in Wales.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Health and Care Research Wales.

The authors thank the Local Authorities and charities involved for taking part in this study and all the parents and professionals who were interviewed and took part in the focus groups.

Funding: This research is funded by Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW), project number SCG 21 1844. The authors thank the Local Authorities and charities involved for taking part in this study and all the parents and professionals who were interviewed and took part in the focus groups.

Citation

Evans, L., Fitz-Symonds, S., Long, F., Roberts, L., Diaz, C. and Powell, S. (2024), "“They seem to listen more now I have an advocate”: a study into the implementation of parental advocacy in Wales", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 89-104. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-05-2023-0027

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles