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Developing the Concept of Professional Advocacy: An Examination of the Role of Child and Youth Advocates in England and Wales

Dalrymple, Jane


Jane Dalrymple


• Summary: This article examines the development of child and youth advocacy through an analysis of the meaning of professionalization and argues that a culture of advocacy is needed to facilitate the development of professional advocacy expertise. • Findings: The fragmented development of child and youth advocacy in England and Wales has accelerated within the modernizing agenda of New Labour. While child and youth advocacy competes with other imperatives in the provision of health and social care services, advocates seek to develop professional status in order to ensure effectively the involvement of children and young people in decision making. The nature of advocacy practice creates resistance to traditional models of professionalization but a committed practitioner model, recognizing advocacy expertise, enables advocacy to develop in a way that does not compromise its role. • Applications: Debates about the professionalization of child and youth advocacy are ongoing, particularly with the publication of advocacy standards in England and Wales. This article contributes to the discussion and suggests a model for developing the theory and practice of child and youth advocacy. © 2004, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.


Dalrymple, J. (2004). Developing the Concept of Professional Advocacy: An Examination of the Role of Child and Youth Advocates in England and Wales. Journal of Social Work, 4(2), 179-197.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2004
Journal Journal of Social Work
Print ISSN 1468-0173
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 2
Pages 179-197
Keywords child and youth advocacy, professionalization
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Advocacy for children and young people is relatively recent. Mindful of the lack of analysis about whether professional status enhances the role of advocacy, this paper consolidates an argument about the impact of problemitising advocacy as unprofessional. The paper argues for a committed practitioner model which characterises expert practice in a way that helps to develop an understanding of advocacy practice. This is seen as the most helpful way of creating dialogue and promoting a culture of advocacy.