Service level agreement

Information for agencies referring children to Be My Parent

Our Service Level Agreement formally defines the level of service we expect from agencies when they use Be My Parent to find adoptive or permanent foster families for children.

Consents and permissions

When completing a child referral, you will be asked if your agency has the proper consents to feature a child on the website and Be My Parent newspaper. If you answer 'yes' by ticking the box provided then we take this to mean that you have either a placement order; Section 19 parental agreement; and /or court permission to feature a child. The responsibility to ensure that these consents are in place remains with your agency and any breach will need to be addressed by you.

Because some of the profiles (in the 'open area') are accessible to all those visiting the website, it is highly recommended that birth parents and significant members of the birth family know about children being featured on the website, as there is a greater likelihood of family members discovering information about 'their' child on the web.

Make sure you are familiar with our guidance on consents and agreement to publicity.

When you submit your referral, make sure you have had this authorised by your line manager; team manager; or budget holder. This is your responsibility and, once we receive your referral, we will assume it has been cleared in your agency for publication.

Responding to enquiries

Please respond to enquirers within seven working days - even if it is with a short standard email acknowledging receipt of their enquiry.

We frequently receive feedback or complaints from families who have made an enquiry about a child and are upset because they have not heard anything back from the agency, even after a significant amount of time. For such cases, we may contact you to chase this up, so we can let the family know what is happening.

If you are planning to be away for a period of time while a child is being referred, please provide details of an alternative contact who can receive and respond to enquiries while you are away.

We can help you manage enquiries received.

Read our guidance on managing enquiries.

Keeping Be My Parent informed

If you have a definite match you are pursuing, please let us know at the earliest opportunity so that we can remove the child or children’s profile from the website if they are still featured, and from the newspaper if relevant and possible. This will avoid families making enquiries needlessly and being disappointed as a result.

You also have the option of putting the profile 'on hold' on the website, where we remove the profile for some time while you explore a possible match. For the newspaper, we can put the child ‘on reserve’ meaning that we still take details of enquiries coming through on the phone, but do not pass on your details to enquirers. That way you no longer receive enquiries, but can access details of those if you wish to in the future.

Once the child is no longer featured, we will send you a placement questionnaire, asking for some information about the outcome: was a match identified, are you still family-finding, has there been a change in care options? Please respond to those questionnaires promptly so we can update our records. They also help us to produce detailed anonymised statistics about enquiries and outcome for children.

Finally, please let Be My Parent know within 28 working days when the child or children have been matched with a family at panel. Again, this is so we can update our records and produce up to date and accurate statistics, which we know many local authorities use.

Finance issues

When you submit a referral, please do not send any money or a purchase order. We will invoice you promptly.

Please remember that there are significant discounts for multiple referrals, and if you place a referral in both the newspaper and website. Cancellation fees apply if you wish to withdraw the profile.

Referral information

Please ensure that the information you send is up to date. Any repeat profiles should ideally be re-written just before being featured. The Be My Parent referral form remains valid for a year, but certain sections will still need to be completed to submit a repeat referral.

It is very important that your contact details are correct and regularly updated.

As part of Be My Parent’s service to our users and to promote good social work practice, we review the child’s profile and photograph at least every four months, and will discuss with you any suggestions.

View a sample profile.


Please do not use emails to send confidential information, as it is not secure. Making referrals through Be My Parent's online referral system, however, is secure.

There is an area of the website where child profiles can only be viewed by enquirers who have been police checked by their adoption or fostering agency. Although this level of screening will mean that these child profiles attract less interest, there are numerous reasons why this area might be the most appropriate for the child you are referring. We will contact approving agencies to confirm the enquirers’ police check status.

For more information, see our privacy policy and also our privacy and security statement.

Last updated: 19 June 14

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