Link Maker increases placement choice for children awaiting adoption, creating a UK-wide pool of available adopters, and improving the use of data and collaboration between local authorities and independent adoption agencies. It is used by Scotland's Adoption Register and by each regional adoption service in Wales, along with almost every local authority and independent agency in England. Over 1,200 children have been matched since the platform was launched in 2014.
Local authorities family-find for children by approaching suitable adopters, or by listing the child's profile if appropriate. Link Maker's support team works proactively to ensure no child 'falls through the cracks'. Progress is closely monitored, and where it appears more could be done for a child additional advice and support is offered to their social workers.
- Forming Regional Adoption Agencies. A comprehensive range of collaboration features for regional services and consortia are available.
- Access the widest range of families. The detail contained in profiles guides family-finders to families who may best meet a child's needs, whether in-house, from a consortium or provider group, or nationally.
- Show interest in families. Available families can be filtered and ordered according to a range of geographical and other criteria, and approaches made to invite discussions.
- Invite interest from families. Issue child profiles to in-house families, or to external families according to geography, consortia and other criteria.
- Schedule profile visibility. According to the policy in each case, the visibility of child profiles can be automatically increased from, for example, in-house, to a small geographical area, to a larger area, at appropriate intervals. The sequence can be set to stop automatically when sufficient interest has been shown.
- Involve & support families. Social workers can share details with their families, and empower them to help identify suitable matches where appropriate. Families can be supported online by appropriate staff during family-finding and post-placement.
- Meet data protection obligations. All documents and messages are shared securely with local authorities and families, with information encrypted using the password of the intended recipient, and made available to them for only as long as it is needed. All data is managed by an ISO 27001 accredited organisaton and is hosted in the UK.
- Keep information up-to-date. All users can update their profiles and cases directly, in real time. Link Maker monitors all activity and intervenes directly with users by email and telephone whenever an update, or a user response, may be overdue.
- Manage cases flexibly. All users accounts are specific to individuals, so that cases can be shared between managers and social workers according to prevailing practice and policy in the organisation.
- Child-level reports. Instant reports can be run containing evidence of available families, and of family-finding activity conducted on behalf of a child or sibling group.
- Effective oversight. A range of user-level permissions can be applied, granting the ability to view activity against all cases and to run detailed activity reports.
- Plan ahead. Live data is always available, and can be aggregated regionally and nationally. Powerful reports and dashboards enable supply and demand to be monitored effectively, in real time.
- Online presence. Manage a customised, branded portal for staff and families from your organisation. This can bring together both family-finding and support, and can provide news and information, advertise and facilitate events, hold forums for practice discussion and peer support, and make family-finding profiles available to appropriate users.
- Readily available support. Unlimited online and telephone support for all users from 9-5pm, Monday-Friday
- Ongoing development. Nothing in children's social care stands still, and Link Maker's continuous development is shaped by feedback and suggestions from users.
Prospective adopters use Link Maker directly to make their profiles available, and to work with their agencies in identifying possible matches. Anyone who has adopted domestically in the UK can also use Link Maker's community features, to find other local families for chat, support and playdates, and to share advice with practitioners and other families on the Q&A.