Sixth former wants voices of children to be heard

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A Corby student is helping shape courtroom justice for her peers as part of her role with the Children and Faily Court Advisory Service.

Advone Katsande, a sixth former at Brooke Weston Academy, works on a board with 50 other young people which operates alongside mediation centres, judges, social workers and courts to ensure that children’s voices are heard in court proceedings.

It is a useful grounding in the law as Advone, who is studying philosophy, history, English literature and French, has plans to eventually become a lawyer.

She first began working with CAFCAS when she was 15 years old. She was selected from 30 other applicants and now works on a board with 50 other young people.

Advone said: “As part of the Family for Justice Young People’s Board we cater for the needs of over 60,000 children in England who are dealing with private or public divorce proceedings.

“When I go to the Family Justice Board I represent the Young People’s Board so I have to stand up for young people’s views, especially as in divorce proceedings people can overlook the views of children and courts may not be child friendly. CAFCAS’s work is important when parents get divorced there is another life involved. That child should have a voice and be heard.”

Avone, in Year 12, fits her commitments with CAFCAS around her school work.

She added: “I love working with CAFCAS and plan to make the most from this experience.

“It is a great networking opportunity to make connections with people including Ministers and judges.

“It gives you a chance to develop as a person and realise that there are genuinely so many people that go through exactly the same. Children really do understand a lot and the more decisions you involve them in the better. The moment you try to hide things or manipulate them you are just going to mess them up.”

Advone is now planning a career in the justice system.

She added: “I really want to get into Law and I think Family Justice is a nice stepping stone. I would like to study at UCL or Oxford and get into commercial and family law.

“One of my goals is to open a children’s orphanage in Zimbabwe because if we look a little deeper into the hearts of society we can really benefit each other. As a generation if we don’t help and understand each other we will create more animosity. If we create organisations and children’s homes and help children with the basics of English, maths and science we will all help each other develop as a community.”