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Impact of Lifelong Links

Director of Children’s Services at Hertfordshire County Council, Jenny Coles, reflects on the value Lifelong Links has had for children and families and the social work practice system in Hertfordshire.

In January 2021 the report of the independent evaluation into Lifelong Links was published. The evaluation covered the three years of the trial, 2017-20, which involved 12 local authorities in England. The evaluation was carried out by Dr Lisa Holmes at the Rees Centre, University of Oxford.

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Some of the key findings of the Lifelong Links evaluation include:

  • Increase in family and friends connections. On average children and young people increased their social networks from seven to 26 people.
  • 78% children and young people felt an improved sense of identity.
  • Statistically significant positive impact on young people remaining in their placement following Lifelong Links. 74% children and young people remained in their placement after Lifelong Links compared with 41% of a comparator group.
  • Value for money: Cost benefit analysis showed a return on investment of monetisable outcomes is £1.02 for every £1 spent.

Family Rights Group also produce a quarterly impact report into Lifelong Links based on local authority reports and case studies. The following is a summary of our findings to date:

  • 84% of children who asked are now reconnected with their wider family networks.
  • 94% of children who asked are seeing carers, former professionals and other important people including old school friends and godparents.
  • Almost one fifth of children wanted to find out more about their family history and where they came from. One Lifelong Links coordinator was able to trace one young person’s family tree back to the 1850’s.
  • 11% of children had specific requests which were important to them, such as if their old pet was still alive, a photograph of themselves with their siblings, a plan for when they left care or to receive birthday cards. In all cases the Lifelong Links coordinator was successful, apart from one. That was when a young person wanted to return to a previous placement.

You can download the latest impact report here.

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