Four adoption experts will be championing plans for an adoption service for the whole of London. London’s adoption champions were selected by their peers for their expertise in delivering excellence in adoption services.
The champions are: Shirley Elliott, Head of Adoption, PACT Charity; Jeanne Kaniuk, Managing Director of Adoption, Coram; Clare Luby, Adoption Social Worker, Achieving for Children; and Peter Sandiford, Chief Executive Officer, PAC-UK.
Each champion covers a different part of the adoption journey: recruitment and assessment of adopters, planning and early permanence, matching and adoption support. The champions will work together to talk with councils, voluntary adoption agencies, adopted children, their parents and people who want to adopt to help shape and inform options for a regional agency for London.
I am delighted to announce London’s adoption champions. These four adoption experts will facilitate conversations and raise awareness towards our vision of a London-wide adoption agency. “Our vision is that through this agency all London’s children receive excellent services that meet their needs leading to excellent outcomes for them and their adoptive family. It’s all about improving the life chances for some of London’s most vulnerable children.Chris Munday, lead for the regionalisation of adoption for the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services
Currently each London borough offers an adoption service. On average 500 local children are adopted each year. The numbers of children and people who want to adopt are not evenly spread across London’s boroughs.
In June 2015 the Department for Education proposed regionalising adoption across the country. That is bringing together adoption services over larger regions, giving children and families the opportunity to access the same service and experience no matter where they live within a region.
London will bring together the largest number of councils across the biggest population. Regionalisation aims to speed up matching of children to a parent/family, improve adopter recruitment and
support, reduce cost, and most importantly improve outcomes for these children and their families.
Champions and stakeholders have taken part in workshops to provide options for the best model for London in February and March. The next opportunity to help shape a London-wide agency is for parents and people who want to adopt on 9 March 2016. To sign up please visit the Eventbrite site: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/london-councils-12746050136
The Future of Adoption for London is on Facebook. Like the page and stay in touch: https://www.facebook.com/LondonAdoption/ or @LondonAdoption
For more information please contact: LondonAdoption@NELCSU.nhs.uk
More information on London's adoption champions can be found below
Peter Sandiford - Adoption support
The availability of adoption support for London’s families should commence at the time of adopter recruitment and continue through a child’s journey and into adulthood. Support comes from other adopters and family and friends as well as trained professionals in voluntary agencies and local authorities across social services, education and health.
As well as the adoptive family those affected by adoption also include birth parents, birth families and the adoptee at any point in their life, Contact, access to records and Intermediary services are all adoption support services that should be available across London. Social services, education /health professionals also need to understand adoption and be equipped to provide services as required.
Regionalisation provides an opportunity for those affected by adoption in London to receive services that are not dependent on where they live for the extent or quality of support they receive. With regionalisation there is the opportunity for providers of adoption services across the public, private and voluntary sectors to develop a truly unified approach that draws on the expertise of all involved, not least the adoptive parents themselves.
Jeanne Kaniuk - Planning and early permanence
Research shows it is important for the long term development of children to have secure caring relationships as soon as possible. To do this it is important to identify children who may need to be adopted outside the birth family as early as possible early and to plan proactively for it. This needs to be carried out in a spirit of open communication and respect for the birth parents and extended family members.
The different strands of work required to make long term plans for the child need to be carried out concurrently, not sequentially. This work can dramatically reduce the time children remain in care prior to adoption and importantly, the number of moves whilst in care.
Close cooperation between the Councils, with corporate responsibility for the children, and the proposed regional adoption agency will be needed to ensure opportunities for early placement are not lost.
Shirley Elliott - Recruitment and assessment of adopters
It is very important for us to recruit the right families for the children waiting for adoption.
A regional approach to adoption will give us the opportunity to develop a recruitment strategy for all of London's children who are in need of a safe, secure, loving and permanent home.
Assessments should be timely, allowing adopters the opportunity to learn and develop, accurate, thorough and balanced, enabling family finders to match adopter’s capacity and skills with the needs of the children waiting.
Clare Luby - Matching
To promote the right of every child to have a permanent, secure and loving family, which embraces individual needs and differences that will respect and positively promote the child’s ethnicity, culture and identity.
It is important to have a targeted recruitment strategy for adopters and an embedded early planning process that promotes concurrency planning and encouraging families to fostering towards adoption.
The overriding goal is to get more children waiting to be placed into adoptive homes with minimum delay. Matching children across a wider area avoids delay for children. Successful matching relies on social workers being able to able to access a wide range of potential adopters from the beginning, a regional approach would allow this, thus reducing delay for our children.