‘The single factor most closely associated with positive outcomes for children is meaningful, lifelong connections to family.’
Family Rights Group is working collaboratively with local authorities, family group conference services, voluntary sector organisations and other key stakeholders including children and young people in care, family members and foster carers to develop and implement Lifelong Links. Our aim is to build positive lifelong support networks for children in the care system.
Funding from the Department for Education Innovation Programme is enabling a three year trial of Lifelong Links with 875 children in England. The trial started in April 2017 initially with seven English local authorities: Devon, Hertfordshire, Kent and North Yorkshire County Councils, the London Boroughs of Camden and Southwark and Coventry City Council. A further five English authorities have joined the trial: Bi Borough (RB of Kensington and Chelsea and City of Westminster), Central Bedfordshire, Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, Leeds City Council, and Stockport MBC. We also secured funds from KPMG Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, RS MacDonald Charitable Trust and The Robertson Trust to simultaneously trial Lifelong Links in Edinburgh, Glasgow and West Lothian in Scotland. The trial in Scotland was extended in April 2019 to include Perth and Kinross Council and Falkirk Council..
The Lifelong Links trial is aimed at under 16 year old children and young people who have been in care for less than 3 years and for whom there is no plan for them to live within their family or be adopted. The trial is being independently evaluated by the Rees Centre, University of Oxford and Celcis, University of Strathclyde to determine whether Lifelong Links is effective in improving outcomes for children in care.
foster carers' perspectives
A big thank you to Hertfordshire County Council who produced the “Introducing Lifelong Links” film in collaboration with young people (and), to North Yorkshire County Council who worked with Family Rights Group to produce the foster carers film and Matt from Doncaster Children’s Trust with “Connections matter”.