So what do they do?

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, what they do and how to contact them, especially if you haven't met them!

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.

"But I don't like my social worker...!" Many young people say this, but what they often mean is that they don't like social services and that their life has been disrupted by being in care. You should give your social worker a chance, you may develop a good relationship.  Talk to your social worker as they won't know there is anything wrong if you don't tell them. 

If you really don't like your social worker, you can contact an advocate and they can help you resolve any problems with your social worker, or help you to ask for a change of worker.

Independent Visitors (IVs)

Independent Visitors are adults who give up some of their free time to give you help, advice and support if you would like it. They are volunteers who do not work for the Council. You can have an IV if you'd like to have a friendship with an adult who is outside the care system.

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.

Pathway Worker

Your Pathway worker helps you with your transition into adultlife, leaving care, and can also help you even after you've left the care system.


Advocates help you understand your rights and help you have your voice heard. If you have a complaint or problem, an advocate can help you by speaking on your behalf. You can contact the advocates at the Children's Rights and Advocacy Service by using the 'contact us' form on this site, or by calling Nikki Wilson, the Children's Rights Officer, on 07769725174.

Looked After Children Support Team

The Looked After Children Support Team provide a range of support to children and young people in care, including completing life story, safety and identity work and supporting children and young people to see their family.  

Virtual Head Teacher

The Virtual Head Teacher runs the virtual school.

A Virtual Head Teacher:

  • Works closely with head teachers and school governers to make sure they have a good understanding of what is important to children and young people in care.
  • Provides training for teachers, head teachers and social workers.
  • Works with school improvement professionals to raise the standards in schools.
  • Works with the Admissions and Access Team to help ensure that moves between schools are reduced.

Children's Commissioner

The Children's Commissioner provides support to children and young people who live away from home or who receive social services. This Children's Commissioner can help with any questions you have about your rights, welfare and safety.

You can contact the Children's Commissioner any time by post, email or telephone.

Telephone: 0800 528 0731


Address: Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT.