What is Lifelong Links?
• Lifelong Links is here to help children and young people find and reconnect with family and others who care about them, in a safe way. This could include people they already know, people they haven’t seen for a while and even family they have never met before.
• Lifelong Links brings everyone together in a ‘Family group Conference’ to talk about what support the network are willing to offer the young person both now and in the future.
• It’s a great way of creating a positive support network for young people that they can turn to for emotional and/or practical throughout their life.
Who can access Lifelong Links?
Any child or young person who is:
• Not living with their birth family.
• Not planning on returning to their birth family.
Before being able to access Lifelong Links it is important to gain permission from whoever holds parental responsibility for the child or young person.
What can Lifelong Links do for you?
• We gather a support network that can support you emotionally and practically, this can be particularly useful when leaving care.
• It offers you a chance to learn more about who you are! Learning about your past, birth family, culture, religion and race could help you create a stronger sense of identity.
• Improved mental health and emotional wellbeing as young people could feel less anxious when they know how the people they care about are getting on.
• It offers a safer and more positive way to find family and friends.
• Having a good support network can help to keep you on track and motivated for the future!
What happens next?
Find out more about Lifelong links using the boxes below.
- Step One
First, you get a Lifelong links coordinator. You will talk about who you want to build relationships with and they will help you with activities to learn about your background.
- Step Two
Next, you, your carer, social worker, family and friends will all be invited to a conference. If you want, you can have an advocate who will express your views. Our coordinators do not make decisions about your future. You, your carer and your social worker will always be updated on their progress.
- Step Three
You will attend the conference (if you feel comfortable) there are then 3 stages to the Family Group Conference:
• Information sharing, everyone will discuss their wishes for the future.
• Private family time, you and your friends and family will create a plan on how they can support you.
• Agreeing the plan, your coordinator and Social Worker will return and look at the plan, agreeing on a safe plan of support!
After the conference everyone will be given a copy of the plan and a new date might be set to review how everything is going.
Important: Work at a pace that suits you, there is no pressure to go ahead with anything if you don’t want to!
Comments from those who Lifelong Links have helped:
“It is more than I ever dreamed it would be. I’m so happy”.
“You are doing some extremely valuable work and it will mean a lot to B to have some news or catch up time from the people who she remembers”.
“We are so excited and happy to see our sister, it’s mad, it’s like she wasn’t a real person until we saw the photo."
“I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU for all the support you have given to our family."
“Unbelievable, I never thought I would see them again, I can’t believe this is really happening."
- What is ‘parental responsibility’?
- Download: Family Rights Group
Lifelong Links Team, Family Group Conferencing, Colonnades House, Duke Street, Doncaster, DN1 3EA, Tel: 01302 737150 email: LifelongLinks@LLL.com