OCYA Information for Children & Youth

What does an OCYA Advocate do?

Advocacy means working to ensure that all of your rights, interests, and viewpoints are considered when decisions are made that affect your well-being. Advocates help to make this happen. The decision-making remains with your guardian and/or caseworker, but it is an advocate’s responsibility to try to assist you in resolving any issues that you are worried about.

Check out Taylor: An Advocacy Story

Sometimes you might feel powerless or unsure when dealing with government systems. You may even fear that if you speak up, you could get into trouble or you might not be taken seriously. Advocates can help in these types of situations!

The primary goal of advocacy is to elevate your voice.

This means much more than just talking loudly or repeating your words. It is about having an advocate stand beside you and ensuring that there is an opportunity for you to be fully heard.

Advocates can assist you by:

  • focusing on the issues you identify
  • answering your questions
  • helping you understand your rights
  • keeping your information confidential (protected by privilege)
  • listening and creating a safe environment for you to discuss concerns
  • explaining to you how government systems work and how they can best be navigated
  • ensuring that you have the opportunity to participate in decision-making and planning for your future
  • discussing with you how disagreements can be voiced so there can be better outcomes
  • encouraging you to be your own best advocate
  • staying involved until you feel there has been meaningful resolution of your concerns


Based on your wishes, and the advocacy strategies you have agreed upon, an advocate may:

  • provide information, suggestions
  • attend/request case planning, wrap-around or other meetings
  • review file information
  • ask that a decision be reconsidered
  • support you through alternative dispute resolution process(es) like letter writing, meetings, mediation, administrative reviews, appeals, etc.

(If a young person is not able to express their views, an advocate can still become involved to protect their rights and work to ensure that all of their interests are considered during decision-making.)
Call us to find out if you can speak with an advocate.