Advocacy and Independent Visitor Scheme Services
Advocacy Service in Barnet
The Advocacy Service is available for children and young people who are either a Child in Care, child on a CP plan or a Care Leaver.
This service provides them with an independent advocate when situations occur that need to be mediated and a trained professional can advocate on behalf of the child or young person, ensuring their rights are respected and their views and wishes heard.
Advocacy Referral process
Please do remind children and young people you work with that this service is available to them and that they are able to self-refer directly using the following contact details, or you can refer on behalf of them by completing the referral form. Please ensure all referral forms are sent securely via the email below.
Telephone: 020 7254 9408
Action for Children run drop-in sessions the first Wednesday of each month from 10am – 12noon, available to staff to discuss or refer a child/young person. Currently these are taking place virtually but we will look to revert back to face to face as soon as feasible.
Independent Visitor Scheme (IVS) Service in Barnet
Independent Visitors (IVs) are unpaid volunteers who are matched with a young person in care for the purpose of “visiting, advising and befriending a looked after child or young person”. Independent Visitors meet with the young person at least once a month to share activities, spend time one-to-one and have fun.
The role is long term, with ideally a minimum commitment of two years, with the hope that the young person will benefit from a supportive, reliable, fun and confidential relationship with an adult who is independent from the professionals around them.
Activities in the matches are bespoke to the wishes and feelings of each young person, with the aim of providing access to stimulating positive opportunities, supporting new hobbies and interests and offering ongoing support in any areas needed (e.g. growing independence, placement stability). For some children and young people, it is simply a space to talk.
Social workers and IROs can refer any young person who is looked after by the Local Authority. Young people who are referred may be isolated, placed out-of-borough far from their original support networks or generally in need of support in accessing cultural, leisure or educational opportunities - as well as having someone who listens to them and can be a consistent source of support.
If you feel you have a Looked After Child or Young Person between the ages of 5 - 18 who could really benefit from having an Independent Visitor then please ensure you refer them through to Action for Children. You are also able to use their drop-in sessions as above.
email sent securely to: London.email@example.com for new referrals
Phone: 020 7254 9408 for further information
Covid-19 Service Update
During this unprecedented time our Advocacy and IVS Services provided by Action for Children continues to be committed to supporting children and young people. Advocates and IVs are continuing to accept new referrals and to provide advocacy services to children and young people.
Face to face contact has now been resumed where it has been assessed that this is needed and safe, and social workers are being contacted so that risk assessments can be completed. Advocates also continue to work with young people via telephone and video apps, ensuring the young person has a space where they can go to talk in confidence with the advocate.
Advocates continue to assess on a case by case basis what is the most appropriate route to reach young people.
If you would like to discuss either services further please feel free to contact:
- Contract Manager Ailsa Edwards, Assistant Head of Service, Children in Care
- Commissioning Lead: Tas Anjary, Senior Commissioner, Family Services