Independent Visitors (IVs) are adult volunteers who give their time freely each month to visit a specific child or young person who is looked after. An IV is an independent person who is not paid to visit you.
The aim of the Independent Visitor is to build and develop a trusting and positive relationship with you by providing support for you with any issues you may be finding difficult in your life.
IVs can support you by:
- Taking an interest in you
- Support you to develop your interests and hobbies.
- Being a reliable and consistent person in your life.
- Listening to you but never judging you
- A person who is independent from your care who you can ask for advice
- A person who is there just for you
- Someone you can have fun with
- Someone you may come to trust
What is an Independent Visitor?
An IV is an independent adult volunteer who will be reliable and committed to visiting you once a month. You will plan, budget and agree each monthly visit together, so you will know when your IV will be coming to see you next and what activity or hobby you will be doing.
An IV could:
- Support you in developing your skills and interests.
- Help you to become more confident.
- Someone who will support you to build a trusting friendship
- Help you with school/college projects
- Someone to go out and have some fun with
- Support you to attend your LAC Review if you wanted them to
If I decide I want an IV what do I do next?
Talk to your Social Worker, IRO, and staff. or carer and ask them to make a referral to NYAS. Check out our website www.nyas.net which gives you lots of information about how we can help and support you.
NYAS is independent and confidential and there just for you!
What happens next?
An IV Coordinator will arrange to visit you. They will tell you more about the IV service and get to know you by asking you some questions which include your likes and dislikes and what sort of person you would you like to visit you.
It may take some time for the IV Coordinator to find you the right person. We need to make sure volunteers are trained and safe to come and visit you. Once we find you the right volunteer we will contact you and send you some information about the volunteer. You decide if you would like to meet the volunteer and go ahead with visits.
IVs have to send a record of the visit which is sent to the IV Coordinator and is kept confidential on your file. All young people have the right to see their file
What you talk about to your IV is private. They do not tell other people about what you say unless there is a very good reason to do so. If you tell your IV something that makes them think that you or another child may be harmed, then they will have to talk to someone else about it.
Questions young people often ask about the IV Service
What if I am not happy with my IV?
If you are unhappy with your IV then please tell us. It would be helpful to let us know why you are unhappy. We will listen to what you say. If you decide you no longer want an IV or would like someone else then contact us and tell us what you want.
How long can volunteers visit me for?
We ask volunteers to visit young people for at least 2 years. Young people can chose to end the relationship before 2 years. If you are both happy you can continue to see each other for many years or until you become 18.
What if I have a problem my IV can’t help me with?
Young people often need support in meetings or feel unhappy with decisions that are being made about their life or it could be they just don’t feel listened to. An IV would suggest you may require support from an advocate. An IV can help you to make an advocacy referral or you can visit ——–advocacy link for more information. Helpline number /link
Can I do any activity with my IV?
There are certain activities that are not allowed as we need to keep you and your IV safe, these include sailing, motor biking, quad biking and paint balling.
Can anyone have an IV?
As long as you are looked after and your Social Worker or Independent Reviewing Officer have agreed it is in your best interests to have an IV
Does NYAS provide IVs for all young people who are looked after?
No they only provide the IV service in certain parts of the country. Young people can check this out by contacting the NYAS HELPLINE who will be able to tell you who provides the service in your area.
What Young People say about their IV’S?
“I have a good time with my IV. He has helped me to develop my interests”
“She just talks to me about it”
“It’s someone who is there for you, someone to help with problems and advice. It’s someone to talk to and I don’t feel lonely anymore like I used to. It gets me out too which is good or else I will just be stuck in my room being lonely”
“I have become better a sports and I can speak to her about things. She is bossy and beats me at pool all the time. She is a really bad singer which makes me laugh”
“I like going out with her. We have been swimming, to the cinema and ice skating. I kept falling over but it was fun”
“My IV has helped my confidence to improve”