Could you befriend a child in care?

Become an 'independent visitor' and volunteer to spend time with a child in care.

Independent Visitors for children in care

Boys running and two girls smilingWe are looking for people from a variety of backgrounds to become Independent Visitors. An Independent Visitor is a volunteer who spends quality time with a child or young person in care for a few hours every couple of weeks.

Many children in care are teenagers so we are particularly looking for people who are interested in working with this age group. No formal qualifications are required - just a genuine commitment to children and young people. If you are over 18 and are interested, we’d like to hear from you.

Independent Visitors do not take on a parenting role, they are there to provide a sense of 'normal’ life to a young person who is living in a children’s home or who has moved among numerous foster placements.

Independent Visitors are not like parents, social workers, or carers - that is why they are called 'independent'. They are ordinary people, like you, who volunteer their time because they like children and young people.

Once through the recruitment process, volunteers are carefully matched with young people. We consider hobbies and interests, racial and cultural backgrounds, and preferences regarding age and gender of both the child and the volunteer. When a match is made, there is a trial period of five or six visits before a definite commitment to is made. 

Once established in the role, volunteers are provided with opportunities for individual and group support, as well as further training and social events.

This role is unpaid, but volunteers can recover expenses, including transport and some money for activities. 

You can contact the Independent Visitor Coordinator on 01273 295510 for an informal discussion.

Visit the National Independent Visitor service website for more information.

You can also view this Independent Visitors - Our Legal Right animation (YouTube video) here. This has been created to raise the profile of the Independent Visitor role, be an important campaign and IV recruitment tool and support professionals to understand the value of Independent Visitor provision.

Become an Independent Visitor

Our scheduled training days for June 2020 have been postponed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We will update the website as soon as possible with new training dates for later in the year.

Children and young people who are eligible for Independent Visitors have a vast diversity of needs. Therefore we want to encourage people from a wide range of racial and cultural backgrounds, as well as those with disabilities, to apply.

Prospective volunteers are asked to complete an application form and to provide four referees. Because of the vulnerabilities of children and young people in care, the recruitment process includes police and other statutory checks too.

Volunteers will receive training and a final assessment interview before an appointment is offered.

Please note that Brighton & Hove City Council Children & Families social care staff, their partners and local councillors are not eligible for this role due to potential conflicts of interest.