An accompanying adult is a volunteer, 18 years of age or over, who assists and advises a child during their age assessment interview. They act independently from the local authority and ensure that all the necessary processes are being conducted properly and fairly.
What is the purpose and why are accompanying adults needed?
An “age assessment” is the process where the local authority make an assessment of a child in order to establish their age. A key part of this process is an interview or series of interviews with the child and the assessing social worker and this is where the accompanying adult is required to be present. There must be two qualified social workers conducting the assessment. Most often an interpreter will also be present.
What does an accompanying adult do?
The role of the accompanying adult is to:
Advise and assist the child being interviewed
Observe whether or not the interview is being conducted properly and fairly
Facilitate communication between the social workers and the child
A report/monitoring form is completed in respect of each interview and submitted to YLF as soon after as possible. Any points or issues of concern will then be followed up with the relevant agency and/or volunteer. Matters requiring urgent attention (e.g. safeguarding concerns) should be reported as soon as possible to YLF.
What sort of people do we help?
Accompanying adults are called to help children who have their age disputed by the local authority.
How much time do I need to give and when will I be required?
Volunteers will be notified one week in advance of the interview date, time and venue. The service operates Monday to Friday 0900 – 1700.
How much will it cost me?
Nothing other than your time. All authorised expenses are reimbursed, including travel.
How will I know what to do and what not to do?
All volunteers undertake full training comprising:
Seminars/briefing sessions on legislation, policy and practice
Study of the Merton Judgement
There is a handbook provided and ongoing training opportunities throughout the time as an accompanying adult.
What if I need help?
Telephone back-up is available during office hours and out of hours. We are also available by email and phone to answer any queries you might have.
Do I get to meet other accompanying adults?
You will meet a number of accompanying adults at our support groups throughout the year.
Do I need to have a DBS check or any other references or background checks?
All volunteers are required to complete an enhanced DBS form. We also seek a reference from your current employer and two others (whom you have known for over 5 years).
How do I apply?
To apply you will need to complete application and safeguarding forms (there is also an optional equal opportunities form) and return these by post to YLF Volunteering, 71 College Road, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6SX or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. These forms are all available to download from our website. If you require hard copies, these are available on request.