“Relationships and long term social connection is the cornerstone to child and family welfare”

Lifelong Links aims to ensure that a child in care has a positive support network around them, to help them during their time in care and into adulthood.

The Lifelong Links model includes tools and techniques for Lifelong Links coordinators to use to search for and find family members, known or unknown to the young person, as well as other adults, such as former foster carers or teachers, who care about the young person.

This network is then brought together in a Lifelong Links family group conference to make a life-long support plan with, and for, the young person. We will integrate the Lifelong Links plan into the young person’s care plan and social workers should work with the young person and their support network during their childhood and transition to adulthood.

What is Lifelong Links?

Lifelong Links explores and brings people together who care about you.

You will:

  • Reconnect with family members and other trusted adults in a safe way. This could be people you already know, people you have not seen for a while, or relatives you’ve never met.
  • Learn about your family history.

It can:

  • Provide you with supportive, stable relationships during your time in care and beyond.

What do we do?

If you are a child in care who wants to connect with family, you will need to speak to your social worker who will refer yourself to us. We can then work with you to identify who you want to find out about and what connections you may already have. You are central to the process and it is voluntary, meaning you can withdraw at any time.

We will search for your family members and other adults who care about you, you may not even know about them at the start of this process. This might include parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles or it could be former foster carers, residential staff or teachers.

With the people that have been found, we arrange a Family Group Conference, which is a planning meeting with your family and friends. The purpose of the Lifelong Link Family Group Conference is to devise a lifelong support plan with you, including those identified people. There maybe people that want to be part of your plan that you may not want to at that time and that is ok, as you may want them to in the future.

Your social worker, personal advisor and Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) will work with you to review your plan as you transition in to adulthood.