Wakefield CAPS
(Children's Advocacy and Participation Service)

Independent Visitor Service.

Any young person in the care of Wakefield Local Authority has the right to an Independent Visitor. Independent Visitors are volunteers trained by Barnardo's for this role. Once trained, they are matched with a young person based on similar likes and dislikes.

An Independent Visitor could help by:

  • Seeing the young person regularly (we ask for volunteers to commit to volunteering with us for at least a year and aim for visits every 2 weeks).
  • Taking young people to fun activities they are both interested in.
  • Listen to young people’s experiences and thoughts.
  • Offering advice and support when needed.

Once a Social Worker has completed the paperwork for an Independent Visitor we will visit the young person so that we can find out what their interests are and the type of person they would like to be matched with. We will keep reviewing the match to make sure both are happy and enjoying their time together.

CAPS can have 20 matches of young people and Independent Visitors.

The main function of the IV is to provide a safe independent person for the young person so if there were any concerns they have someone regularly available that they can trust to talk to. Visits are every two weeks for at least one year. Whatever else is going on in the young person’s life the visits must continue while ever the young person wants to. Therefore visits cannot be used as a sanction because this can appear to a young person as collusion with the carers and social workers and thus lose its value, independence and trust. Equally it is their right to the service and therefore cannot be cancelled.

The budget is £15 per visit for expenses incurred by the Independent visitor which are then reimbursed. This is for tickets, food etc. and is not for buying ‘stuff’ i.e. gifts for the young person.