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Advocacy the Background

Advocacy History

Advocacy - UK

Advocacy - Sandwell

History of Advocacy

The concept of advocacy as any sort of formal arrangement is relatively new, although in practice advocacy has always happened in many forms. Just as there have always been vulnerable and marginalized people, there have been people willing to be a good neighbour, willing to speak up for them and see that their interests are represented.

The present day advocacy movement has its roots in the USA, when in 1966, delegates at a conference on young people with Cerebral Palsy asked: “What will happen to my child when I’m gone and not able to speak up for them?” From that question came the answer – ‘if there is no family willing or able to speak up for a person, then perhaps they could continue to have a voice through a Citizen Advocate’. This was a new and innovative idea. Two key figures in the advocacy movement, John O’Brien and Wolf Wolfensburger, carried this forward and eventually helped to establish over 200 Citizen Advocacy schemes in the USA, Canada and Australia.

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