The role of the independent visitor was first introduced as a statutory service for looked after children in the Children Act 1989.
An independent visitor is a volunteer who doesn’t work for social care services, and has the time available to befriend and visit the child. Being consistent and reliable are qualities that we look for in an independent visitor, these qualities are essential in order that children can build a trusting, positive relationship with them over time.
We want our volunteers to endeavour to become and remain that constant adult in the child’s life, someone that does not change when placements or social workers change and will stay focused on the child at all times. The child will have the opportunity to try new activities, and spend time with their independent visitor, away from their placement. Independent visitors are someone to ‘stick up’ for the child, to promote the empowerment of the child, and to make sure their rights are respected.
It is important to remember that there are limits to the role of an independent visitor, independent visitors are not trained skilled advocates. If there are situation in the child’s care where they are unhappy or feel they are not being listened to, then the Independent Visitor Service will make an appropriate referral.
Becoming an independant visitor
We would encourage anyone wanting to become an Independent visitor to commit to volunteering for more than one year, is more beneficial to both the child and the volunteer if a long term relationship can be built throughout the child's time in care. With the best outcome that this relationship continues after that point or until the child wishes to end the match.
For further enquiries please contact: