Independent Visitor Service

Cumbria County Council commissions its Independent Visitor Service for children and young people from NYAS, which is a statutory service for Looked After Children.

What are Independent Visitors?

  • They are volunteer adults who will befriend children or young people who are in care to offer friendship, stability, support, advice, patience, encouragement and a positive role model on a one to one basis.  Independent visitors are independent of the local authority and receive in-depth training and support from NYAS.  Being an independent visitor is a varied, interesting and challenging role.

  • They are able to provide support through changes of placement or social worker, helping a young person with their sense of worth through monthly visits. They also provide an additional important safeguard for young people who are in care.

  • No special qualifications are needed for the role but some experience of working face to face with children and young people is desirable. 

What does an Independent Visitor do?

  • They build a relationship with the child or young person based on trust, mutual respect and shared interests.  They meet up with the child or young person monthly and, once a friendship is established visits can include trips to local places of interest or other activities that the child or young person enjoys.  The emphasis of the visits is to build a long-term relationship.

  • They complement the vital role of social workers and carers in contributing to and promoting the young person's developmental, social, emotional, religious and cultural needs - they listen to how a young person is feeling.

Who can have an Independent Visitor?

  • Children and young people in care who live in or out of Cumbria and have little of no contact with their families or if it is in their best interests to have one.

Can a young person choose their Independent Visitor?

  • They do have a big say in who they get
  • They meet them before they are assigned
  • They can be referred by a social worker or an independent review officer
  • They can contact the service direct

 Case study (PDF 20KB)