The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England was launched in 2021 and hailed as a once in a generation opportunity “to reshape the system by placing relationships front and centre”. The review acknowledged early on that the care system does not do enough to make and sustain relationships and that young people leaving care consequently experience a “cliff edge” where support and relationships abruptly fall off.
“Trust, stability, and emotionally supportive relationships have been difficult for me to cultivate since going into care”. Final Report of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care
Building and sustaining safe, stable relationships for care-experienced children and young people is a central thread running through the Final Report. It states that having a trusted adult during childhood “can positively influence long term physical and mental health (Crouch et al, 2019), and can mean children are less likely to experience “toxic stress” or develop unhealthy coping strategies (Cheong et al., 2017)” (p. 150). NIVN is pleased to see the central focus of relationships placed at the heart of a good care system.
An Independent Visitor (IV) is a trained volunteer who is uniquely placed to provide care-experienced children and young people with emotional support and stability. IVs offer the chance for children to build a trusting, positive relationship with a reliable adult over time.
Stability is a key theme for the review. NIVN looks forward to working with the Government to achieve the mission that:
“More children in care and care leavers will be able to have an independent visitor who will build a long-term relationship with them.”
- We are strongly supportive of the attention paid by the Review to the ‘cliff edge’ experience of leaving care faced by thousands of young people each year.
- We believe only a statutory duty on local authorities from the UK Government will guarantee a consistent long term offer of IV support for children in and leaving care.
We invite the Government to work with us to:
– Enshrine the rights of children in care and care leavers to an IV in new law and statutory
– Increase funding for Local Authorities to resource increased IV provision to all care-experienced children and care leavers who wish to have one.