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Independent Visitor (IV) Scheme

What is IV?IV Scheme

The Independent Visitor (IV) Scheme offers a volunteer-led independent befriending and support service to young people aged 11 -18 who are ‘looked after’ by the Belfast and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trusts and have infrequent or poor quality contact with a parent or person with parental responsibility for them.

A young person is matched with their volunteer for a minimum of one year, though this can be extended with the agreement of the young person and their volunteer.

What does IV offer?

Independent Visitors are trained volunteers who provide support, encouragement and continuity of contact to young people.

The role of the Independent Visitor is to:

  • provide continuity to a young person who may have experienced a succession of care placements in his/her life;
  • work towards building a long term trusting and supportive relationship with the young person;
  • act as a positive influence in the young person’s life by promoting the social, emotional, educational, physical and cultural development of young people who engage with the Scheme; and
  • support the young person to exercise their rights and participate in making decisions about their life, including attending Looked After Child (LAC) Reviews as appropriate.

How can I access this service?

The decision to refer a young person to the IV Scheme is discussed and agreed at the LAC Review.

If the young person concerned agrees, a referral is made to the IV Project Worker, who will match the young person to a volunteer based on the young person’s needs and their shared interests.

Before making a referral, call the IV Project Worker on 028 9032 0157 to discuss how the Scheme could support the young person.

For more information, download our leaflet here or contact us.

To find out how to volunteer for the IV Scheme, visit the volunteering section of our website here.