The Commission has released the third in a series of reports detailing findings of its latest surveys of young people in residential care.
These are anonymous surveys of young people in residential care conducted across Queensland by the Commission on a regular basis as part of its Views survey series. The survey is one of the key mechanisms by which the Commission evaluates the effectiveness of the support and advocacy its Community Visitors (CVs) provide to young people in residential care.
The findings suggest a high level of support among young people in residential care for the current approach to individual advocacy being employed by CVs. Overwhelmingly, young people who participated in these surveys indicated that their CVs are accessible, helpful and provide much-valued advocacy and emotional support to them. The large number of young people indicating that their CV has advocated for them, and their descriptions of the advocacy undertaken on their behalf, suggest that CVs continue to play a vital role in ensuring the quality of care and protection provided by the state to young people in residential care.
A unique contribution that the study makes to contemporary research on child advocacy is its ability through inferential statistical analysis to identify factors related to young people’s satisfaction with the advocacy and support provided by advocates. Young people’s responses to survey items exploring satisfaction with the support and advocacy of their CV were on the whole unaffected by demographic variables; however, young people’s responses to numerous items were related to how long they have known their CV and how frequently they see them.
Young people who reported knowing their CV for more than six months compared with those who reported knowing their CV for a shorter length of time, and young people who reported seeing their CV on a monthly basis compared with those who reported seeing their CV less often:
- were more likely to regard their CV as available when needed
- rated their CV’s helpfulness more highly
- were more likely to regard their CV as “easy to talk to”, “a good listener” and “very caring”, and
- were more likely to anticipate talking to their CV about problems arising either in their placement or in relation to their child safety officer or the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.
These findings lend weight to claims made in previous qualitative studies about the critical importance of investing time in building trusting, supportive and, ideally, enduring relationships between children in care and their advocates in the interests of safeguarding children and ensuring they are able to exercise their legislated participation rights.
The series of papers (20) can be found here.