Specialist Parent Advocacy

Our Specialist Parent Advocates work with parents with a learning disability whose children are subject to Child Protection Plans or Child Care Proceedings.

This means:

  • Making sure that parents understand the concerns of the local authority
  • Making sure that information is accessible to the parents
  • Making sure parents have a fair opportunity to address the concerns on the Child Protection Plan
  • That parents can access support appropriate to their needs
  • That professionals are making reasonable adjustments when working with parents
  • Supporting parents at meetings to have their say and to express their point of view
  • Supporting parents at court hearings during care proceedings

Click here to find out more about the role of the Specialist Parent Independent Advocate:

“I could not be more positive about my experience with both Claire and Karen and your service generally. I have worked many times with Claire and although I only recently met Karen, I have found her to be a wonderful source of support for our respective client also. It is clear that they are both trusted a great deal by the parents we deal with and they go above and beyond to assist them. Your service is invaluable to the local community and I hope that we continue to be able to work with you for a very long time to come.”

Karen Mallinson

Karen is our part-time Independent Parent Advocate, who first got involved with Plymouth Highbury Trust in 2010 as a volunteer. She supported many individuals with learning disabilities by giving them a voice and making sure they were heard in situations or environments where they may have struggled. This led to Karen being employed by Plymouth Highbury Trust two years after as an Advocate, moving to the Parent Project back in 2018.

“Sometimes the meetings I had to go to were very difficult and I needed someone to help me to understand everything they were saying. If it was not for my advocate, I would be very ill. I think that if I had had to do everything alone, I would have had a breakdown.”

Claire Stowe

Claire manages the Plymouth Parent Advocacy Project but continues to advocate with a small caseload of parents. Claire has been working for Plymouth Highbury Trust since 2007. Starting out as a General Advocate, she worked with a range of clientele including parents, building rapport and supporting them through challenging situations. Claire then became an Advocate for the Parent Project when the project first started, continuing to use and apply the knowledge and skills she has developed since first starting.

“[She] helped me to understand what was happening in court, writing letters, and when I was feeling down or upset. She also helped me go down to the foster placement in Redruth because I had trouble finding the house.”

The support both Claire and Karen provide can range from visiting a client’s house to go through important paperwork and make sure they have a clear understanding of what they are reading to attending a final hearing, supporting them to process information that can often be very hard to hear.

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