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Who's who?

There are lots of people at the council who help and support children and young people in care, but its tricky to know who everyone is and what they do and how to contact them. Here's a who's who to help you understand the roles.

Social worker

Your social worker provides support to you and your family during your time in care. Your social worker should make sure you're doing OK and that you're being looked after properly. When you first come into care, your social worker will meet with you and write you up a Care Plan. If you've got any problems, you can talk to your social worker. They should be able to help you understand any decisions made about your life. Sometimes there may be decisions made that you don't agree with. Talk to your social worker as they won't know there is anything wrong if you don't tell them. 

If you're unhappy with the social work service, you can contact an advocate and they can help you to resolve any problems.

Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

Your IRO chairs your review meetings and makes sure your Care Plan meets your needs. They can also help you have your voice heard. Every child or young person in care should have an IRO and your IRO should stay the same if possible. Your IRO should listen to you, and you can talk to your IRO about how you want your review meetings to take place and how you'd like to contribute to your review meetings.


Advocates can support you to speak up when you feel like no one is listening. They can also help you be more involved when decisions are being made about you and your future.

Advocates can help you...

  • find the right words to make sure you're listened to.
  • express your views and get them heard.
  • get information about what you want to know.
  • work out what your options are.
  • sort things out with the adults in your life.
  • if you want to make a complaint about a service or the way you have been treated.
  • find out about your rights and entitlements and many many more...


An advocate is independent and there just for you. An advocate works for City of York Council but is separate from the social work teams and your carers.


Your advocate will not tell other people anything you have said without your permission, unless they are worried about your safety or the safety of another person. Your advocate will ask you who you would like them to speak to on your behalf and what you would like to share with them. ​

Advocates are there to represent you and only do what you ask. They'll stop anytime you say you don't want their help anymore.

I would like an advocate

If you would like an advocate to support you, please get in touch.

Telephone: 07769 725174 Email:

Download the advocacy leaflets:

For younger children

For young people

Independent Visitor

Independent Visitors (IVs) are adults who give up their spare time to visit and befriend young people who are in care. IV’s are completely separate from Children’s Services - that’s why they’re called independent.

The IV doesn’t replace your carer or Social Worker, but is an extra person who is there just for you. They visit you because they want to and hopefully will get on with you.

IV’s can support you and help you make the most out of life. If you wanted to, with your IV you can do activities or learn new things such as:

  • Going to the cinema
  • Coffee and chat
  • Attend your review with you
  • Develop your skills and interests
  • Do things you’ve never done before
  • Help you get your views across
  • Help find out information
  • Prepare for meetings involving decisions about the future
  • HAVE FUN!!

If you would like an IV, get in touch with 

Pathway Worker

When you turn 17, you will be allocated a pathway worker. Your pathway worker is there to support you when you turn 18 and leave care. Your pathway worker will keep in contact and arrange meetings with you; they will visit you at home and also arrange to meet you in the community. Your pathway worker will provide you with advice, information and guidance to help you make the best choices and decisions. The relationship between you and your pathway worker is important; make the most of the support they can offer.

You are entitled to support from a pathway worker until you are 25. The amount of support that you receive from your pathway worker will depend on what you want and your circumstances.