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4.7.3 Independent Visitors

Please see relevant section of Forms Library to access the required template.

For more information on the East Riding Young People's Participation and Rights Team see Rights4U.


Contents

  1. Key Points
  2. Procedure for Authorising Independent Visitors


1. Key Points

  1. The Local Authority looking after a child has a duty to appoint a person to be the child’s Independent Visitor where it appears to them that it would be in the child’s best interest to do so;
  2. This includes all children who are being looked after. The provision does not extend to children accommodated by health authorities or in residential care, nursing or mental nursing homes unless the child is being looked after;
  3. A person is not to be regarded as independent if they are a member of the local authority or an officer of the Children, Families and School Directorate or the spouse of any of these. The same restrictions apply to people in a similar relationship to a voluntary or registered children's home where the child is placed;
  4. The Local Authority has a duty to consider at reviews whether an independent visitor should be appointed. In some circumstances the question may arise when the Care Plan for the child is drawn up;
  5. The views of a range of people must be obtained as to whether an independent visitor should be appointed. The views and wishes of the child are particularly important. The child's religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background must also be taken into account;
  6. An independent visitor cannot be appointed if the child objects and the local authority is satisfied that they have sufficient understanding to make an informed decision;
  7. Although the criteria for the appointment of an independent visitor exist, in some circumstances such an appointment may be considered unnecessary, e.g. a child may be settled in long term foster care and have sufficient contacts with friends and other members of their natural family to make an independent visitor unnecessary;
  8. The Participation and Rights Team will have an important role in matching the visitor to the child. If the child objects to the choice the Local Authority cannot proceed;
  9. The personal qualities required of an independent visitor will include an ability to relate to children generally and specifically appropriate to the age and circumstances of the child;
  10. Introductory meetings will provide an opportunity for mutual assessment and enable the child to decide whether they wish the appointment to proceed.


2. Procedure for Authorising Independent Visitors

  1. Referrals for an Independent Visitor should be made to the Participation and Rights Team, who recruit, support and manage the independent visitor service for the East Riding of Yorkshire;
  2. Identify child or young person who meets the criteria for the appointment of a visitor under the Children Act;
  3. Record this information in the child's Care Plan and/or at the Looked After Review;
  4. Contact the Participation and Rights Team who will send a referral form for completion and return for the appointment of an independent visitor;
  5. Record progress and continuing need for an independent visitor in reviews and updated child Care Plan.                                          

End