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June 15, 2020
Alison Miller, CEO of St. Francis’ Children’s Society says, “Although the country is in lockdown, around 3,000 children are still in care, waiting to find their forever homes. In response to the current restrictions, we’ve made dramatic changes to the way we operate. Whilst we can’t meet prospective adopters face-to-face right now, video-conferencing technology is allowing us to continue the important work of finding families for vulnerable children.
“The safety of children is always paramount. But adoption agencies and local authorities are adapting their working practices to ensure that children are not waiting in care any longer than necessary. If you’re considering adoption, you don’t need to wait until restrictions are fully lifted before you begin your journey. Get in touch with us now and we’ll be delighted to talk things through with you.”
Children in care who have been approved for adoption already face a significant wait before joining their new families. Latest available data shows that the time taken between a child entering care and being placed with an adoptive family is 14 months. 41% of children wait 18 months or more.* We’re keen that the lockdown doesn’t extend that wait for vulnerable children.
In normal circumstances, we host two information events per month at our offices. However, we’ve now produced a film of this event which can be sent to anyone who wants to find out more about adoption. Initial visits and home visits are being conducted online using apps such as Zoom or WhatsApp. The current easing of restrictions means that some face-to-face visits can be done in people’s gardens, where possible.
At the end of May, we hosted our first online Preparation Training course; we’ll be hosting more prep training and other workshops in the coming months. Our monthly panel meeting has also moved online and is working well. And with the help of some funding from BBC Children in Need, we’re also providing a number of online support services to our existing adoptive families.
If you have questions about adoption or would like to take the first steps of your journey, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Call 01908 572700, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sfcs.org.uk.
Alison Miller adds: “This isn’t how we’d choose to help you with your adoption journey, but we’re pleased that we’re able to continue providing our services at a difficult time.”
* Latest available data, for the year 2018-19, published by the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board: https://coram-i.org.uk/asglb/data/
The Adoption Leadership Board (ALB) was established in 2014 to provide leadership to the adoption system and drive improvements in performance. In 2018 the Board became the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board (ASGLB), with a remit to cover previously looked after children subject to adoption or special guardianship orders.