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Lifelong Links wins the Nick Crichton Award

Published: 20th April 2023

2 minute read

Our Lifelong Links approach has won the Nick Crichton Award for Family Justice from the Centre for Justice Innovation!

Judged by an expert panel, the Family Justice Award was created to honour the memory of District Judge Nicholas Crichton, who pioneered the creation of Family Drug and Alcohol Courts to tackle parental substance misuse in care proceedings. The award is for the initiative that has done the most to help families avoid disputes and resolve problems, with a particular focus on co-creation with families themselves.

Lifelong Links, a Family Rights Group innovation, aims to ensure that children and young people in care have a positive support network around them to help them during their time in care and in adulthood.

An independent Lifelong Links coordinator works with a child to find out who is important to them. The coordinator searches for these people, and then brings the network together at the Lifelong Links family group conference to make a plan with the child and the local authority to ensure these relationships continue to grow.

Evidence shows that Lifelong Links delivers better outcomes for families and children. After taking part in the programme 78% felt an improved sense of identity and belonging, with the average number of family and friends connections increasing from seven to 26. Evaluations show that these reconnected relationships endure beyond the child’s Lifelong Links journey, providing a positive support network into adulthood.

Lucy Hutchinson, the Family Group Conference and Lifelong Links Head of Programme said:

“Everyone at Family Rights Group is immensely proud that our innovative Lifelong Links approach has received recognition from such a prestigious organisation. Winning when there are so many other worthy nominees is the cherry on the cake.

“We owe our success to many people. For children and young people, it takes a lot of courage to reach out to family or friends when you don’t know what response you will get. Independent Lifelong Links coordinators and social workers do an excellent job supporting them through the process and making sure strong foundations are laid for future relationships. Councillors and Directors of Children’s Services around the country have invested in us to bring this vital service to their children and young people in care. We thank all of these people.”

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