The Children’s Society in Devon: CheckPoint Torbay
Independent, accessible support for children and young people
Programme Manager: Jim Skilton (interim)
CheckPoint Torbay’s Children’s Rights Service provides four discrete but overlapping services:
- advocacy for children subject to the child protection process,
- advocacy for children looked after
- independent visitor
- disability council
We provide advocates to support and/or represent children and young people aged 8-17 years, to ensure their views are considered in decision-making processes, including initial child protection conferences, first child looked after reviews, and subsequent child protection reviews. Children and young people who are looked after can also request an advocate for any of their subsequent reviews when they or a concerned professional feel there is a need.
This is a specialist service delivering an issue-based model of advocacy. This ensures children and young people have access to an independent advocate to help them express their views and resolve any issues they have regarding their plans, placement, contact arrangements, education and so on. All advocacies are individually assessed and a range of techniques adopted to help the young person communicate their views.
As an anti-discriminatory organisation the service is equally available to children and young people with disabilities, SEN or extra support needs, whether looked after or part the child protection process. Staff in the advocacy service are skilled in working with disabled children and young people, a number of whom return to support CheckPoint Torbay in other ways for example in sitting on staff recruitment panels.
Additionally, CheckPoint Torbay also supports children and young people making, or intending to make a complaint under the Children Act 1989.
All children and young people have the right to make a formal complaint or representation, and through this service young people have access to a specialist advocate skilled in all policies and procedures relating to complaints and representations.
Independent Visitor Service
The Independent Visitor (“IV”) service will provide children in care with a trusted adult to visit, advise and befriend them and, when necessary, advocate on their behalf.
They get to know the young person by doing activities with them, taking them out and building a trusting relationship. Volunteers are asked to meet up with the young person once or twice a month and to commit for a minimum of two years. This role may require a degree of travel as some children in care are placed out of county.
The IV service is in its initial stages of development and volunteers are being recruited to act as positive role models. If you are interested in becoming an Independent Visitor, or indeed volunteering at CheckPoint Torbay in other capacities, then please visit our Volunteers page.
The Disability Council are a group of young people aged 13-19 years with a disability or extra support needs. They meet fortnightly to give their opinions and ideas on services and facilities in Torbay for young people with disabilities or special educational needs.