Making a Referral

The online service is run in collaboration with the social enterprise ‘Link Maker’, making use of the highly secure system that they have developed for sharing information.


The Scottish Government introduced new regulations in April 2016 as part of its commitment to improving practice and reducing unnecessary delay for children requiring permanent placements. The Regulations changed the Register from a voluntary to a mandatory service – adoption agencies (local authorities and voluntary organisations) are now required to:

  • refer all children to Scotland’s Adoption Register a maximum of 3 months after the agency has made the decision that adoption is in the best interests of a child; or that an application for a permanence order granting authority for a child to be adopted should be made under section 80 of the Act.
  • refer adopters a maximum of 3 months after their approval by the adoption panel.

    Social Workers For adopters or those responsible for family finding for children will first need to register by clicking the link below:

    It is of critical importance that the security of the system is maintained – you will be asked to create a safe password and provided with a PIN to gain access to the site. Confirmation of your identity will also be sought from your agency.

    Once registered, social workers for adopters will need to connect to their families’ profiles in order to support them in the family finding process.
    Social workers responsible for family finding can create profiles of the children they are seeking a placement for and directly initiate discussions with adopters.

    For more information on how to get started with the online register please watch this short video which will guide you through registration, creating profile, and family finding.

    We have also created a written how to guide to help you get started.

    What are the benefits to the online register as a family finding worker?

  • Access to the widest range of families. The details contained in the profiles will guide family-finders to families approved across Scotland who may best meet a child’s needs.
  • Ability to directly show interest in families. Available families can be filtered and ordered according to a range of geographical and other criteria, and approaches made to invite discussions.
  • Opportunity to involve & support families. Families and Social workers work together in identifying children that families would like to be matched with.
  • Confidence that data protection obligations are satisfied. All documents and messages are shared securely between agencies and families. Information is encrypted using the password of the intended recipient, and made available to them for only as long as it is needed. All data is managed by an ISO 27001 accredited organisation and is hosted in the UK.
  • Up-to-date information. All users can update their profiles and cases directly, in real time. Staff at Scotland’s Adoption Register and Link Maker monitor all activity and intervene directly with users by email and telephone whenever an update, or a user response, may be overdue.
  • Opportunity to manage cases flexibly. All users accounts are specific to individuals, so that cases can be shared between managers and social workers according to prevailing practice and policy in the organisation.
  • Provision of child-level reports. Instant reports can be run providing information on available families and family-finding activity conducted on behalf of a child.
  • Effective oversight. A range of user-level permissions can be applied, granting identified staff the ability to view activity against all cases and to run detailed activity reports.
  • Guide to the Online Register

    Here is a quick video guide to using the online register.