For fostering providers

Link Maker is used by almost every local authority in the UK to increase placement choice for children. We work with authorities, providers and national leads, across all care settings, to ensure that collaboration and data use is supported by an effective national platform. 

In November 2016 Link Maker launched a commissioning platform; one place for offering individual placements within or without framework arrangements, reducing duplication and wasted time, and improving data to aid market development regionally and nationally.

The system is free of charge for fostering and residential providers to view placement requests and list vacancies.

  1. Register. Everyone in your team can register online
  2. Explore. The system is very intuitive, and these tutorial videos help to explain what's what. Our support staff are always on hand by telephone or email if needed.
  3. List a vacancy. You can create profiles for any families who you may be struggling to find a placement for. You can also view placement requests that have been listed, and pursue any if you feel you can help.

  • Receive new opportunities instantly. Receive alerts of new placement requests, potentially targeted by criteria such as framework membership or the location of available homes or families. Access full details securely online. 
  • Promote individual vacancies. List detailed specifications of each placement or family, including the needs that can be met, other children in the care-setting, relevant experience and training within the family / home, photographs, video, and the date from which a placement is available.
  • Universal commissioning profile. Clear and complete information is captured including the purpose of the placement, the outcomes sought, the child’s views, assessed risks, and when the placement is needed. The new form has been developed for Link Maker by Marie Tucker at CICADA Services, based on her research for ICHA into the use placement request forms.
  • Search opportunities widely. Search for profiles of children for whom you may wish to offer a placement, including those from authorities with which you may not have an existing relationship. Profiles are ordered according to how well a vacancy may meet the needs of a child, and can be filtered by a range of criteria. 
  • Communicate effectively. Local authorities and providers contact each other directly regarding any potential placements through a secure and flexible system. All communication history is recorded against a case for future reference. 
  • Involve & support families. Share details with 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, placements officers and social workers according to prevailing practice and policy in the organisation. Delays and inefficiencies caused by annual leave and staff turnover can be minimised.
  • 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 organisationThis can provide news and information, advertise and facilitate events, hold forums for practice discussion and peer support.
  • Collaborate. A comprehensive range of collaboration features for regional services and consortia are included.
  • 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.

Staff from the organisations below have created user accounts on Link Maker through which placement requests can be viewed. Those in bold have additionally listed live vacancies for authorities to view.

24 Seven Fostering Services

ABC Fostering

Acorn House

Action for Children

Affinity Fostering

Amicus Foster Care

Appletree Treatment Centre

Arc HD Services Limited

Archways Care Ltd



Beta Care Services

Blue Sky

Break Charity


Capstone Foster Care

Care Today/Parallel Parents

Children Always First

Children's Family Trust

Classic Foster Care

Compass Fostering


Cove Care

Credo Care

Croham Services for Children

Dove Adolescent Services Ltd

Eastern Family Services

Embrace Group

Evolution Children's Services

Excel Fostering

Exceptional Care

Family Care Fostering

Family Care Group

Family Fostering

Family Fostering Partners


Five Rivers Child Care

Flying Colours Foster Care

Footsteps to Futures

Foster Care Associates

Foster Care Connect

Foster Care UK

Foster Careline

Fostering Foundation

Fostering North East

Fostering Outcomes

Fostering People

Fostering People Too

Fostering Solutions

Fostering Yorkshire


Fusion Fostering

Future Families


Harmony Children's Services


Homefinding and Fostering Agency

Homes 2 Inspire

Idem  Living




Moments Fostering

National Fostering Agency


Nugent Care

Olive Branch Fostering

OwnLife Fostering

Pathway Care

PCC Foster Care Agency

Phoenix  Learning & Care

Progress Care Solutions

Regional Fostering Services

Regional Foster Placements

Rossie Young People's Trust


Serenity Specialist Care Ltd

Shine Fostering

Supported Fostering Services 

SWIIS Foster Care

The Caldecott Foundation

TimeOut Children's Homes

Tree House Care

Unity Foster Care

Voice Fostering

Welcome Foster Care

What's Out There Limited

Young Foundations

All foster carers in the UK can register individually to make use of the free support and community features, and to work with their agency in helping to identify potential placements.

If you have any questions about how Link Maker could fit with your placement practice, please get in touch


Download an overview of the new system to share with colleagues

Read about Link Maker's data protection arrangements

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