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Professional Advocacy as a Force for Resistance in Child Welfare

Dalrymple, Jane


Jane Dalrymple


The development of child and youth advocacy is a relatively recent phenomenon, increasingly recognized by both practitioners and politicians as a way of establishing communication spaces for young people who are looked after in state care. Literature to date has focused on the development and underpinning principles of child and youth advocacy, which is a necessary starting point for establishing good practice. However, while policy and legislation promote the view that young people are actively involved in decision making, their advocates can be placed in a passive position, effectively denying young people a position as social actors. This paper argues that the problemitizing of independent advocacy as unprofessional can serve to further marginalize young people and render advocates impotent. It suggests that while it is structurally necessary for adults to take on the advocacy role, this must be undertaken in a way that actively resists the oppression of young people. Through consideration of accounts of advocacy activity, by way of illustration, the paper takes the debate beyond the principles of participation, empowerment and rights to a consideration of strategies that take into account the complexities of advocacy practice in child welfare.


Dalrymple, J. (2003). Professional Advocacy as a Force for Resistance in Child Welfare. British Journal of Social Work, 33(8), 1043-1062.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2003
Journal British Journal of Social Work
Print ISSN 0045-3102
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 8
Pages 1043-1062
Keywords professional advocacy, child welfare
Public URL
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