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National Independent Visitor Network

What is an Independent Visitor?

An Independent Visitor (IV) is a volunteer who, for one day each month, invests their time in a child or young person in care. An IV is someone who’s free from all the paperwork and daily concerns of a foster carer or social worker - a special person who over a period of at least one year, can gently understand, respond to and develop a child through fun activities and by being consistently by their side.

If you are a child or young person in care and would like an Independent Visitor, ask your social worker or IRO (Independent Reviewing Officer) who chairs your LAC review meeting.

This video is written and performed by Nego True and designed by Chapter Ad agency with young people and IVs. We hope you like it - don’t forget to share it with your friends.

I am able to talk to my Independent Visitor about different problems. We also have a laugh together.”

National IV Standards

The National Independent Visitor Development Project has been working with IV services all over England and Wales to create the National IV Standards, which are recognised by all leading providers. Together our aspiration is that all looked-after children will know what an Independent Visitor is, have access to a high-quality Independent Visitor service and be able to influence the direction of that service.

In January 2016 we published research following a Freedom of Information survey of all local authorities in England. Our report found that only 3.2 per cent of looked-after children have an Independent Visitor.

There are plenty of ways to raise healthy, resilient children but there are no short-cuts. Independent Visitors provide care and consistency to looked after children who would benefit from extra support in a safe and successful way that is centered around the child. We should be reaching many more children - and with raised awareness and increased local authority resourcing, we could be.


You can download all of the documents mentioned via these links:

national independent visitors network boy

Get involved

The Tudor Trust funded the National Independent Visitor Development Project for its first three years and in recognition of the momentum we gained and the work we have yet to do, the trust has generously funded us for another three years.

There are so many agencies involved in the lives of looked-after children, all doing great work. Let's work together, please contact us if you would like to connect with the Independent Visitor Network to help promote our message. According to the law as it stands, when it is in a looked-after child’s best interest, that child should be offered an Independent Visitor.

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