Guest post by the National Independent Visitor Network (NIVN)
Volunteers’ Week took place online at the beginning of June and marked the online launch of The Right Friend Campaign by the National Independent Visitor Network (NIVN). IV Coordinators, IVs and care-experienced children and young people posted tweets expressing why an IV is the right friend; “They get to know the person, not their history! They build meaningful, fun friendships based on trust and respect”.
The IV network are launching the Right Friend Campaign to address the low levels of access to IVs across the country; data obtained by NIVN in 2019 showed that just 3.5% of children in
England had an IV. Our goal is to increase access to high-quality IV services to at least 10% of the total looked after population, over the next two-years.
IROs play a crucial role to ensure that the appointment of an IV is considered at every Looked After Child review on the basis of best interests, and to escalate when a service is not provided.
Like independent advocacy, IVs as trusted adults are a listening ear that strengthens safeguarding and the voice of the child; “He’s funny; like an uncle figure. I talked to him when my mum was poorly and he listened” (Leeds IV Scheme)”. IVs also uniquely provide stability and consistency of care with many matches continuing beyond the minimum one-year commitment set out in the National Standards for the Provision of Independent Visitor Services.
Please join us in our campaign to raise awareness of this unique, statutory befriending role.
To find out more visit ivnetwork.org.uk/right-friend-campaign