At the launch of the first ever set of National Standards for Independent Visitors Services in London last week, some interesting data was published.
National research shows that there are currently 1000 children on waiting lists for volunteer Independent Visitors across the country.
The Young Lives Foundation does all it can to reduce this large number but with the shortage of volunteers available, there are over 40 children in care on our Kent waiting list.
In an attempt to address this issue, The National Independent Visitor Network launched the new National Standards which are being endorsed by many organisations who have also recommended the Department of Education to do so. This encourages Independent Visitor Services across the country to work towards an agreed standard and promote the valuable contribution volunteers can make to children in care.
Independent Visitors are volunteers who visit, advise and befriend young people in care and take a long-term interest in their well-being and development, a role defined in the Children Act 1989.
Research also shows the huge benefits Independent Visitors have on the lives of young people and how often Independent Visitors can be the only consistent adult in a young person’s life. Of the 2200 arrangements across the country, over 40% have lasted over two years and the benefits for the young people are in no doubt.
“She always comes when she says she will. She never lets me down”
“Having an independent visitor has been the only stable thing in my life recently”
“She made me forget about being in care and brought me up on my down days”
One young person to benefit from the support of an Independent Visitor told her story on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. Hear what she had to say: Woman's Hour IV interview (about 11mins in).
To find out more about how YOU can make an impact on a young person’s life as an Independent Visitor with YLF, please visit: http://ylf.org.uk/get-involved/volunteers/befriending/