Independent Visiting and Advocacy Service
What is an Independent Visitor?
An independent visitor is a volunteer who will get to know you and spend time regularly just with you. They are not paid for their role; they do it because they want to. An independent visitor is not a social worker, support worker or carer; they work outside of the care system which makes them independent.
Who will be my Independent Visitor?
Our independent visitors come from diverse backgrounds and have a range of different skills and experiences; what they do have in common though, is they do this role because they have a genuine interest in the welfare of children and young people. It is important you get on well with your independent visitor; we will always try and match you with someone who shares similar interests to yourself. If you would prefer to be matched to a particular person (for example: male or female) you can request this and we will do our best to arrange it.
What will my Independent Visitor help me with?
Your independent visitor will be there to help and support you during your time in care. They will take the time to get to know you and let you get to know them too. Hopefully you and your independent visitor will have lots in common and can arrange to do things you enjoy together. You may want to get involved in sports, go to the cinema, shopping or just catch up for a chat. Your independent visitor will be someone you can have fun with; they are also someone who you can talk to and will listen to you without judgement. You can ask your independent visitor for advice or to support you at your review meetings if you wish. Your independent visitor can also help you access additional support if you need it.
How often will I see my Independent Visitor?
Your independent visitor will visit you regularly (usually once a month) however you can decide with your independent visitor what times suit you both. It may be that you see your independent visitor more often to start with whilst you get to know them. Your independent visitor has agreed to visit you for a minimum of two years and will continue to visit even if you have moved placement and are still living locally. You can have an independent visitor for as long as you are both happy to keep visiting each other. This might be for a short time or many years. We will keep checking with you and your independent visitor to make sure you are both happy with the arrangements.
Who can have an Independent Visitor?
All looked after children are offered the chance to have an independent visitor and we would like all young people in Sefton to have one if they want one. Sometimes there are young people who really need an independent visitor because they don’t have much contact with family or friends so we try to match them first. We try to match young people to an independent visitor who shares similar interests and who they will get on well with, sometimes it can take a while to arrange the right match. The independent visiting and advocacy officer will keep in touch with you during this process.
What if I am unhappy with my Independent Visitor?
The independent visiting and advocacy officer will contact you regularly to see how things are going. We hope that you get on well and enjoy spending time with you independent visitor; however if you are unhappy with anything, you can contact the independent visiting and advocacy officer to discuss your concerns. It may be that we can resolve any issues with your current independent visitor or in some circumstances we can match you to a different independent visitor.
What is an Advocate?
An advocate is an independent adult who is there to help you to express your views, wishes or feelings, or to speak on your behalf. An advocate’s role is to make sure you understand what is happening and can question anything you do not understand.
Who will be my Advocate?
Our advocates are specially trained volunteers from the local community; they are not social workers social worker, support worker or carer; which makes them independent. Our advocates come from diverse backgrounds and have a range of different skills and knowledge; what they do have in common though, is they do this role because they have a genuine interest in the welfare of children and young people. If you feel more confident speaking with a particular person (for example: male or female) you can request this and we will do our best to match you with a suitable advocate. We can also help you access specialist advocacy services if you require them.
What can an Advocate support me with?
An advocate can support you with nay issues you may be having, for example where you live, your school or college, relationships with family and professionals or anything else that is important to you. Your advocate can attend reviews or meetings with you to speak on your behalf and will make sure you are involved in any plans about your future. They will help you to understand what people are saying and make sure you are listened to. Your advocate will inform you of your rights and if you wish to make a complaint they can also support you through the complaints process.
Is there anything an Advocate cannot do?
An advocate cannot make decisions, give advice or tell you what to do but they will inform you about your options.
How many times will I meet with my Advocate and how long will they be involved?
This is up to you and will depend on the issues you are experiencing. Sometimes your problem may be resolved quickly, other times you may require more support from your advocate. When you meet with your advocate you can agree on a plan of support, including timescales etc.
Who can have an Advocate?
If you are a child or young person who is involved with social care services in Sefton you can ask for an advocate to support you.
How do I get an Advocate?
You can speak with your carer or social worker or you can contact the independent visiting and advocacy officer directly.
What if I am unhappy with my Advocate?
If for any reason you are unhappy with your advocate or the support you are being offered, you can contact the independent visiting and advocacy officer who will be happy to discuss any concerns you have. We can allocate a different advocate with you, if you would like this.
If you would like an Independent Visitor or Independent Advocate or would like to find out more about this service you can speak to your carer or social worker.
Who to contact
Where to go
Last updated: 30/09/2021