What is an Independent Visitor (IV)?
An Independent Visitor (IV) is a role that was introduced by the Children Act 1989 to give children and young people in care an independent person who visits them on a regular basis. All children and young people are legally entitled to have an IV if it is in their best interests.
The IV is a long-term role and we hope that the match would last for at least 18 months.
What does an Independent Visitor do?
The IV will meet with the Young Person they are matched with and will take them out on visits to various places within the community. The visits may be every two or three weeks, depending on where the Young Person lives. An IV is there to give the Young Person opportunities to do things that are enriching for their own personal and cultural development. An IV is someone who gives a child in care an opportunity to be a child and forget that they are in care and create positive memories of childhood.
An IV may attend a Young Person’s review, if their Young Person would like them to be there and they are available to attend. Their role in a review is to support their Young Person and they may advocate for their Young Person if requested.
The IV relationship is monitored and supported by a Youth Support Coordinator. The Coordinator has regular communication with the Young Person to check that they are happy with the IV and that they feel supported by the IV service. There is also regular communication between the Coordinator and the IV to ensure that they are well supported to fulfill their role.
All IVs are recruited and trained by Bolton Lads & Girls Club (BLGC). Volunteers go through a screening process and a thorough training programme as part of the selection process. Should you need to speak to someone about an IV, please call the Coordinator. Please do not contact the IV yourself unless this has been agreed with themselves and the Coordinator.
Keeping us updated
It is vital that the Coordinator is kept up to date with any significant changes in a Young Person’s life or care plan so that we in-turn can inform the IV. To do this, it is helpful for us to attend the LAC reviews for the Young Person.
The IV is a volunteer, so it is important to remember they are giving their time for free. Please help us to make them feel valued by letting us know if a Young Person is unable to meet them for a particular reason or if they are going to be moved.
CriteriaThe Young Person being referred needs to:
• Be in the care of Bolton Local Authority.
• Be between the age of 8 and their 17th birthday.
• Want to have an IV.
Where a young person is the care of Bolton Local Authority, but residing outside of Bolton, the IV continues to provide support – read more about in our Spotlight on Out of Area Support
Who can make a referral for an IV?
All referrals should come from the Young Person’s social worker as they will have all the necessary information about the Young Person.
Once complete, the referral form can be returned to email@example.com
At every review, the IRO should ask if the Young Person would benefit from an IV and once a Young Person has an IV the relationship will be monitored at reviews. Please note that we only provide an IV to a Young Person who wants one; the role is not forced on a Young Person.
Got a question?
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any further information. You can do this either by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01204 540111 / 07787254989 to speak to Louise Murgatroyd.