The Panel received a report and presentation from Mark den Hollander, Independent Visitor Service Coordinator which updated on Durham County Council’s Independent Visitor service for children and young people looked after (for copy see file of minutes).
The report also provided assurance in response to the open letter from the National Independent Visitor Network, that we are meeting our statutory duty to make Independent Visitors accessible to the children and young people in our care.
The Service Coordinator began by describing the challenges experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and he outlined the steps taken to manage risk during the period, whilst ensuring the service was maintained.
The Service Coordinator explained that the Children Act 1989 placed a duty on local authorities to appoint an independent visitor for children looked after. The role of an Independent Visitor is to promote the child’s developmental, social and emotional needs and encourage participation in positive activities. Volunteers are trained and matched with a young person, in a professional befriending role.
The service currently has 42 volunteers and 22 matches have been completed. An important aspect of the service is to offer young people opportunities to have fun whilst complementing the work of the young person’s wider care team.
That the report be noted.