About us

Adoption Link is a family-finding system provided by Link Maker, a social enterprise. Since launching in April 2014, it is proving to be the most effective and efficient way to family-find for children, and has been taken-up rapidly across the UK. The system has received widespread support from adopters, family-finders, managers, and regional and national adoption leads (see 'comments' on this page).

What is different about Adoption Link?

Adoption Link is a live system used directly by both adopters and family-finders. This is a UK first, and removes many barriers that can prevent children finding the best matches quickly:

Speed There is no wait for profiles to be published, which traditionally can be up to 6 weeks. Instead, workers simply log-in, create a profile, and begin family-finding straight away.

Visibility For the first time, family-finders can see approved adopters from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and make enquires to them directly.

Accuracy Any profile that has to be ‘sent-off’ can become out of date instantly. With Adoption Link, users keep their own profiles up-to-date in real time.

Efficiency Family-finders create one profile to use internally, within a consortium, or nationally. The best families are then shown instantly, saving workers from sifting through hundreds of profiles.

Cost No child should miss out on finding the most suitable family. Local Authorities can family-find for all of their children free of charge on Adoption Link, or pay a flat-fee to use additional features.

What else does Link Maker do?

Link Maker helps children who cannot live with their birth parents to thrive by providing technical solutions that bring people together who are involved in their care. We invest most of our income in the ongoing development of a secure, online platform. This innovation is how we deliver our social aims, which are:

  1. To ensure every child has the best chance of a permanent placement. Our systems:
    • Help to identify placements that best meet a child’s specific needs, without undue delay.
    • Help to inform care plans based on the availability of appropriate placements within different permanence options.
  2. To help placements succeed through availability of support. Our systems will soon:
    • Allow families and carers to find others near them and build networks for support and social activity.
    • Provide a secure way to access a range of local and national support services.
  3. To promote evidence-based development of strategy and practice. We:
    • Capture and disseminate valuable data.
    • Facilitate research aided by this data, and the experiences of our user-base.

Key people

Andy Leary-May

Andy Leary-May - CEO

Andy began bringing innovation to children’s social care in 2007 when he founded New Family Social, a charity that pioneered new ways for families to share support, and is responsible for many other initiatives that brought about positive change in the sector.

As an adoptive parent, and after running a successful product design consultancy followed by a UK-wide community organization, he draws on a valuable range of experience.

Through regular engagement with government and third-sector social care leads, practitioners from Local Authority and independent agencies, as well as with fellow families and carers, he constantly seeks new ways for Link Maker to achieve its social aims.

Craig Rigby-Wilson

Craig Rigby-Wilson – Director of Operations & Technology

Since becoming an adoptive parent Craig is strongly motivated to bring targeted IT tools to the children’s social care sector to help improve the process for both children and parents.

With a background as an IT System Engineer Craig has worked in security, system maintenance and disaster recovery, and has specialised in delivering software solutions across large organisations in complex environments.

Craig is responsible for the IT strategy and product roadmap of Link Maker’s services.

Linda Hill

Linda Hill – Support and Development Manager

Linda has over 15 years experience in the IT industry in support, development and project management, within both large retailers and software development houses.

Linda is responsible for the ongoing support and maintenance of the web site, managing the software development, and implementing operational processes and procedures that enable us to maintain a high level of support as the services of Link Maker grow.

Will Evans

Will Evans – Lead Developer

Prior to joining Link Maker, Will ran a development company producing web-based solutions for both charitable organisations and the private sector. He draws on a wide range of skills and experience building database-driven web applications including e-commerce web sites, private intranets and school information management systems.

Will is responsible for maintaining the websites that deliver Link Maker’s services, and for ensuring that the program of new and improved features are built on schedule.

Lucy Rigby

Lucy Rigby - Customer Service Administrator

Lucy is responsible for our first-line support, ensuring new users are verified efficiently, and existing users receive any help they need in a timely manner. A qualified children’s social worker, Lucy has a keen interest in making sure that both agency practitioners and adopters are able to make the most of Link Maker’s services.

Live statistics:

Children
559
Approved families
1619
Links made in last 30 days
687
Practitioners
1447
Agencies represented
213

See detailed statistics

Our 88 agency customers include:

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Family Futures
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London Borough of Bexley
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North Lincolnshire Council
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London Borough of Barnet
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TACT

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"I have been enormously impressed with Adoption Link. It has the potential radically to speed up adoption matching for all children, including those considered more difficult to place. Every adoption social worker should consider using it."

Sir Martin Narey, Chair, Adoption Leadership Board

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