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January 06, 2021
As lockdown began in March 2020, some SFCS staff were temporarily furloughed. This was a difficult decision for everyone, and meant that staff members who were still working had to really pull out the stops to continue providing our top-rate services.
We quickly made the move online. Face-to-face meetings with adopters were conducted via Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp. There was immense effort from our social work team to bring our four-day-long prep training course online. This has been a huge success and has meant that adopters’ journeys can continue despite all the restrictions.
We made a film of our information event presentation, so that prospective adopters could still find out more about us and the adoption process, despite being unable to visit us in person. In September, we began hosting live information events via Zoom, and the response to these has been fantastic.
Our adoption support services have been particularly important in these difficult times. We’ve been able to offer online support with one-to-one consultations via Zoom, and offered group support sessions for our adoptive parents, including online coffee & chat sessions.
Covid restrictions meant that our calendar of family social events really suffered in 2020. Our Easter party had to be cancelled, along with many of the other face-to-face events we normally run. But again, we adapted so that we could offer our adoptive families and their children some much-needed fun and social time with other families.
Over the summer, we hosted two online Brush Parties for the children. They were both a great success and the children produced some amazing works of art.
We were delighted to be able to run two outdoor activity days in October half term at the Caldecotte Experience. The children had a fantastic time burning off some energy in the fresh air. And at Christmas, Zoom came to the rescue once again. We organised an online Christmas party hosted by DNA Kids. The children enjoyed music, games and dancing, and had the chance to make their own edible snowmen. Father Christmas even popped onto the call for a few minutes to say hello to all the children!
Despite the difficult year, adoption agencies across the UK have seen high numbers of enquiries from prospective adopters, and SFCS is no exception. Our duty line has been exceptionally busy throughout the year, and our online information events have been very well attended.
Between 1st April and the end of the year, we approved 21 new adoptive families, with 11 more families due at panel before the end of March 2021. We also placed 30 children with 22 families, and a number of other families are in the process of having children placed with them. In challenging circumstances, we’re on course to exceed our targets for 2020/21.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has worked with us this year. We’ve all had to adapt to a different way of working, and we’re grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding.
As 2021 begins, we’re back in lockdown, but we can see some glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. We hope that we will slowly begin to return to normality as the year progresses, and we look forward to the day when we can welcome you all back to our Family Centre.
Happy New Year!