What is an Independent Visitor?

An Independent Visitor (IV) is a reliable adult volunteer who spends time with a child or young person in care.

They are there as a reliable presence in the life of their young people. Sometimes this can lead to a meaningful, long-lasting friendship with a child or young person who is living with a foster family or in residential care. An IV will meet up with their young person at least once a month, and do fun activities together such as shopping, eating out, day trips etc.

What is the Benefit of Having An Independent Visitor?

Children and young people like having an Independent Visitor because they feel this person is someone who:

  • Listens and cares about their feelings
  • They can go to for practical help and emotional support
  • Is independent that they can confide in 
  • Can be ‘normal’ with, without feeling judged
  • They can have fun with and try new things such as learn new hobbies

How Do Independent Visitor Services in Wales Work?

When a young person requests an Independent Visitor, NYAS Cymru will match them with a volunteer. To make this decision, we always look at what the child or young person enjoys doing and match them with a volunteer who they share similar interests with. 

  • Visiting times and activities are chosen by the young person in agreement with their volunteer. The IV will make arrangements directly with the young person and their carers.
  • Independent Visitors commit to visiting their young person at least once a month, for a minimum of 12 months. 
  • Volunteers are fully trained before they are matched with a young person. They are supervised by NYAS staff and given a small budget for appropriate activities.
  • Our Independent Visitor Service in Wales is confidential. What a young person shares with their IV is private, unless there is a concern about the young person or someone else’s safety.

Independent Visitors can continue their relationship with the young person for as long as the young person consents, up until aged 18.

How Can NYAS Cymru Help?

NYAS Cymru have been instrumental in developing national guidelines and standards to improve Independent Visitor Services across Wales. These guidelines mean that children and young people who are care experienced can understand what an IV Service is, their right to access an IV, and how to request an Independent Visitor if they want one.

These standards and guidelines are available to read. You can also read these documents in Welsh.

NYAS Cymru provides an Independent Visitor Service across Wales. We currently offer this service within Cardiff, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen.

To find out more about the Independent Visitor Service including how to refer yourself or someone else, please get in touch with our helpline.

Still Have Questions?

If you have further questions about Independent Visitor Services in Wales, or NYAS Cymru's other support offerings, just get in touch.

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