An Independent Visitor (sometimes called IVs) is an adult who is there just for you. They are not social workers and are not part of Children’s Services. They are not paid to be an Independent Visitor but more like a friend, someone who you would meet up with regularly, have fun with and do things together.
Who can have an Independent Visitor?
Independent Visitors are for children and young people who are ‘looked after’ by the local authority who would like to have an adult friend to support them.
What sort of things would I do with my Independent Visitor?
You can do whatever you like doing.
You and your Independent Visitor would decide together where you would like to go and what you would like to do.
It could be:
- Watching or playing sports.
- Listening to music.
- Reading together.
- Going shopping or for walks.
- Chatting over a drink or snacks
- A trip to the cinema, theatre, museum or a zoo.
- A day doing an activity like bowling, swimming, ice skating or cycling.
- Chatting over a drink and a snack.
- Playing computer games.
- Anything else you may enjoy!
Independent Visitors are there to support you, listen to you and be your friend. They will only be your Independent Visitor not anyone else’s. They will become someone who you know well and who knows you well because of the times that you share together.
You can also ask your Independent Visitor to go with you to your review or other meeting to support you.
How often would I see my Independent Visitor?
An Independent Visitor would visit you regularly, usually once a month either at the weekend or evenings or during the daytime in the school holidays. Usually you would plan the time of your next visit together so that you would always know when you will be meeting up again.
You can keep your Independent Visitor until you are 18 (or 24 if you have additional needs) if you wish to. It is your decision if you want to keep meeting up with your Independent Visitor and how long for.
How can I get an Independent Visitor?
If you would like an Independent Visitor, ask your social worker to contact us and we will be able to help find out who runs your local IV scheme.
The IV service will then come and meet with you to find out a bit about you and see if there is an Independent Visitor who they think you would like.
You may have to wait some time, but once someone who is right for you has been found they will contact you and arrange to introduce you to them. After you have had a few visits together you can decide if you want to continue to see them.
How is an Independent Visitor different to an Advocate?
An Advocate is there to tell you your rights and help make sure you are involved in all decisions about your life. An Independent Visitor is there for a long term friendship.
Becoming an Independent Visitor
If you are an adult who wishes to volunteer as an Independent Visitor, please visit our Independent Visitor professional section for more info.