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Hertfordshire County Council

Lifelong Links

Building lasting relationships for children in care.

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What is Lifelong Links?

You can:

  • reconnect with family members and other trusted adults in a safe way. This could be people you already know, people you haven't 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.

Who is it for?

You can take part in Lifelong Links if you:

  • are under 16 years old 
  • have been living in care for less than 3 years
  • do not live with your family.

Whoever holds parental responsibility must agree that you can take part. What is parental responsibility?

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What happens next?

We'll give you a Lifelong Links Coordinator.

They will:

1. Talk to you about who you want to build relationships with.

2. Help you complete activities to learn more about your background. This might include drawing a family tree, where you have lived and where you go to school.

3. Try to meet with your parents, and find the people you want to have in your life, if it is safe to do so.

4. Arrange a family group conference with you and all the people who care about you.

Our coordinators are independent and don't make decisions about your future. They'll keep you, your carer and your social worker updated on their progress.

You can always work at a pace which suits you; there's no pressure to continue with the programme if you don't want to.

Lifelong Links family group conference

Your Lifelong Links coordinator will invite you, your carer, social worker, family and friends to the conference. If you want, you can have an advocate, who can help to express your views.

There are 3 stages to the Family Group Conference:

1. Information sharing

Everyone, including you, will be asked to talk about your wishes for the future.

2. Private family time

You, your family and friends will come up with a plan on how they can support you now and in the future.

3. Agreeing the plan

Your social worker and coordinator will come back and look at the plan. They will agree a safe plan of support.

 

After the conference, everyone will get a copy of the plan. Your social worker and an independent reviewing officer will agree how it is put in place and will monitor how it's working whilst you're in care. You, your family and friends will also be offered another Family Group Conference to review how the plan is working.

Learn more about family group conferences.

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Find out more

Printable leaflets

If you're a foster carer, take a look at our training, support and policies page.

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