September 3, 2019 21:54
can you please share your experience regarding the following:
- When expressing an interest in children on Linkmaker, is there an expectation that you inform your social worker about it beforehand?
- Does your social worker generally follow up your expression of interest on Linkmaker, ie. tries to make it happen?
- Has anybody been given access to the national Linkmaker database before 3 months of being given access to the database of children within your agency or do you always have to wait 3 months even if there are no suitable matches within your own agencies?
September 4, 2019 10:55
Hi, sorry no experience of linkmaker itself but generally most of the initial communication at this early stage would be between SWs, you can't do it by yourself, which suggests that its probably advisable to tell them you are interested.
I'm struck by the comment 'tries to make it happen'. The SWs job is to make sure that it is the right match - an important difference in emphasis I think. Children's profiles have comparatively little information, its easy get carried away by a photo, so SW should help you come to an informed decision about whether to pursue it with the child's SW
September 4, 2019 11:22
The 'tries to make it happen' comment was an unfortunate choice of words - what I meant was that I'm aware that there are benefits for the local authorities when they place their 'own' children with their own adopters so I was wondering if social workers are committed to following up links outside their own agency. Of course, I wouldn't expect social workers not to pursue any link which they don't believe would be in the best interest of the child; I agree their priority must be the child and not us.
LM technical support
September 4, 2019 11:30
There is some advice on this from Link Maker on page 4 of the user guide, here: https://www.linkmaker.co.uk/static/user_guide_for_adopters.pdf I have copied the relevant part below - I hope this helps.
Link Maker is designed to help adopters to be involved in family-finding, but ‘adopter-led’ matching isn’t for everyone. Sometimes the process can be frustrating and draining, and you may prefer your social worker to use Link Maker on your behalf – they can do everything you can.
Plan your family-finding with your social worker. Make sure you understand each other's expectations, to avoid any frustration and misunderstanding. As well as general points (such as how often you will meet together), we suggest the following topics in relation to family-finding on Link Maker:
- Your profile. Review your profile together - is it is a good representation of you? Your social worker has the advantage of seeing other families' profiles, and can help make sure yours covers all of your strengths. You can hand over the ability to edit your profile to you social worker for a period of time if you prefer, via your settings page.
- Showing interest. Is your social worker happy for you to show interest in profiles yourself, or will they do this on your behalf? Do they expect you to inform them before you show interest? How many expressions of interest do they feel it is appropriate for you to have at one time (up to the limit of 5 on Link Maker)? There is no 'one-size-fits-all' with any of these questions, and your social worker's advice might change over time… keep talking.
- Contacting children's social workers. Make sure that you know your social worker's preference - they may be happy for you to have direct contact, but will often prefer to have a discussion themselves first. Children's social workers will have their own views - some will be glad to talk directly to you, while others will only want to talk to your social worker. Make sure the right people are in touch, but only discuss a child if you know that both social workers are comfortable with this.
- Chasing for updates. Once a discussion in underway, weeks or even months can go by before you receive an update. There can be a lot of complex issues holding things up; medical assessments, legal processes, ongoing discussions with other families. It is reasonable that you should be kept in the loop, and your social worker will advise you on how soon and how often to ask for an update, and whether you or they should do this.
In any situation, if in doubt, ask your social worker. They are there to support you.
September 5, 2019 19:18
I think it varies.
In our case, before we adopted, we expressed interest in children on Linkmaker without discussing it in advance with our social worker and shared our PAR with other social workers. Our social worker was always in copy as part of Linkmaker discussions. When discussions progressed and we had a strong feeling about a particular child after reading their CPR, we had a chat with our social worker. Normally it was the child’s social worker that would lead on arranging a home visit if they thought we could be a match (this was arranged directly by the child’s social worker with ours). In our case, we always heard back relatively quickly after expressing interest - we never waited more than a couple of weeks (however, this might be different for other people). If we didn’t hear back after one week of expressing interest, we used to send a follow up message requesting an update. I think it is very important for your expressions of interest to be well presented and tailored to the child you’re expressing interest in, clearly setting out why you think you could be a match and can meet their needs.
We were given access to the national Linkmaker database a couple of weeks after being approved by panel (we just registered with Linkmaker and asked our social worker to approve the registration). I think some years ago potential adopters were given access to the database some months after being approved by panel (to give a chance to social workers to match adopters with children in their area), however my understanding is that this is no longer the case and that adoption procedures have changed allowing adopters to be given access ‘immediately’ after being approved (so that the family finding process is not delayed) - I remember reading about these changes via google.
September 11, 2019 19:03
Some agencies give access to link maker even before approval panel. I guess it depends on individual cases and agencies.