Last updated:
5 October 2017

Independent Visitor Scheme

A befriending scheme for children and young people between the ages of 8 and 17 years old.

1 Overview

The West Sussex Independent Visitor Scheme is a befriending scheme for children and young people between the ages of 8 and 17 years old who are looked after by the local authority, and who will not be returning home.

Independent visitors are not professional care workers. They are adult volunteers who enjoy spending time with children and young people.

They are matched with a particular child and visit them once a month, building up a friendship with them and doing things together which the child or young person enjoys. This can be going for a bike ride, having a chat over a hot chocolate, watching a film together, visiting a museum – whatever the child is interested in and wants to do.

Most visits naturally take place at weekends or in school holidays when children are free.

2 Become a volunteer

To apply to the Independent Visitor Scheme, you have to be at least 21 years of age.

In order to be truly independent, you or your partner cannot work in children's social care in West Sussex, and cannot be elected members.

Applicants need to be able to commit to being an independent visitor for at least two years. Children in care need that sort of continuity and ideally the relationship becomes a genuine friendship that will continue informally after the young person leaves care at the age of 18.

Recruitment usually takes place in groups and involves checks and references, training and an in-depth assessment.

Apply online

Additional information

3 Looked after children

You can have an independent visitor if you:

  • are looked after and aren't going to be living with your family
  • are between 8 and 17 years old
  • don't have much contact with your family.

If you are a looked after child and would like to have an independent visitor, talk to your social worker, carer or Independent Reviewing Officer. Alternatively, you can contact us by email.

We will try and match you as soon as possible but you may need to go on a waiting list.

4 Contact us

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