Update on support to adoptive families in the current Covid-19 pandemic

Update on support to adoptive families in the current Covid-19 pandemic

 

Back to school

It’s only natural that your children might be feeling worried about going back to school. ‘Sammy sloth goes back to school’ is an amazing new book written by Rachel, one of our Mid and West Wales adoption support workers to put their minds at ease and get them excited about getting back in the classroom. Read it together here:

https://adoptionmwwales.org.uk/new-resources-to-support-your-children-as-they-return-to-school/

 

We hope everyone is continuing to keep safe and well.  As previously reported our priority is to continue to ensure that our children and families remain safe and are supported. 

Adoption services across Wales are continuing to work within UK and Welsh Government and Public Health Wales guidelines to continue to provide our services.  Over the past year services have mainly been provided remotely with staff predominantly working from home. As restrictions start to ease it is envisaged that services will take on a hybrid way of working with some remote meetings continuing alongside the re-introduction of face-to-face meetings where these are not already happening. 

Below outlines how we plan to continue with everyone’s safety in mind. We will keep this page updated as and when there are any significant changes. Please bear with us as things may continue to change.

Should you need specific parenting or adoption advice, Adoption UK’s Wales helpline remains open. You can call on 02920 230319 or email wales@adoptionuk.org.uk. There is also advice, information and resources geared to supporting families on the main AUK site here.

If you have any major health concerns regarding the Coronavirus, please also visit the NHS website.
 
Please see our Adoption Support section for further information.
 
Adoption services across Wales

Our Regional and Voluntary Adoption Agency staff are continuing to deliver their services. The majority of offices are still closed to the public, but staff are available via e-mail, telephone and increasingly video conferencing and are beginning to return to their offices.  Face-to-face visits will continue to be risk assessed, in terms of the staff, people and places visited, using current public health guidance.
 
Recruitment visits and assessments

These will now be a mixture of on-line and face-to-face visits subject to risk assessments and guidance.
 
Adoption Panels

Panels will continue to focus on essential business such as approvals and matching children with prospective adopters via video or conference calls. Adoptive parents and prospective adopters will be asked to join via video/telephone calls.
 
Adoption Register Wales

Use of the Adoption Register Wales has been largely unaffected and many profiling events that were traditionally held face-to-face are now happening remotely.
 
Matching, and placement introductions

Matching meetings will happen by telephone, video calls, and written reports.
Commencing introductions and moving children into placements is becoming less challenging but we are still following public health guidance and adhering to Covid risk assessments.   The framework that was developed to support Welsh adoption services to consider whether this is possible on an individual case-by-case basis adheres to Government/Public Health advice while also meeting necessary legal guidelines and is still being used. Services aim to keep everyone informed but if you have any queries about how you are affected by this this please speak to your Social Worker.
 
Adoption Support

Adoptive families and professionals should contact their regional or voluntary adoption service to access the range of adoption support services that are being made available.  Advice on this is available on this website or directly from services themselves. 
Additionally, should families need specific parenting or adoption advice, Adoption UK’s Wales helpline is open to all adoptive families via 02920 230319 or emailwales@adoptionuk.org.uk
Services across Wales have adapted to continue to provide services safely during this health emergency; this includes new services funded by the Welsh Government such as the TESSA services provided in partnership by local authorities and Adoption UK.
 
Visits to children and families

Families who urgently require visits, particularly for adoption support, will continue to be prioritised according to need. Where advice and or remote contact is possible, support will be offered that way.  Where it is necessary to visit, risk assessments will be undertaken.
 
Preparation and other training for adopters

Preparation, and other training, is now being provided through video conferencing or other facilities as well as some face-to-face where it is possible to do so.  A resource pack, with reading and other exercises that prospective adopters can do themselves, is available on this website.  This will support prospective adopters in the early stage of their assessment to think about some of the issues they may encounter and is linked to the social work assessment. 
The NAS post approval training is also available on line so those adopters that wish to work through this themselves can do so.  As above this and other training/development activity for approved adopters is being provided by services through video conferencing. 
Whilst these remain as unusual times for everyone, we are still here for anyone about to start or are already on their adoption journey, via phone or email. Please call or email the region for your local area, or one of the Voluntary Adoption Agencies, if you are already connected to them with any questions.

 

North Wales Adoption Service

NWAS staff continue to be available daily by phone and video conferencing to adoptive families to offer support.

Initial visits, training, assessments, Linking, matching, panels are all being done remotely through Microsoft teams and Zoom although some personal visits are being made in those areas where appropriate and risk-assessed.

Support to adopters and children is being delivered remotely.

 

Adoption Mid & West Wales

We continue to offer a variety of adoption support services to all those affected by adoption. A mixture of online support meetings and direct visits are taking place. Adoption Mid & West Wales is continuing to offer support and training online for distance learning, adoption support group activities, this includes a collaboration with the Adoption UK ‘Connected’ youth group that provides activities for young adopted people. Adoption support staff can advise, support and share resources with parents to help them manage at this difficult time with the ongoing coronavirus situation. Information on our website is being updated regularly and is also included in the newsletter that is sent via email to the many families on our data base.
Please do contact us if you require support.

 

Western Bay Adoption Service

Our staff are continuing to support adoptive families by virtual contact and where needed we are maintaining weekly contact. We are also continuing to hold virtual support groups and parenting groups. Letterbox arrangements continue to be managed too.

 

St David's Children Society 

If you adopted through St David’s:-

• Staff continue to offer a blended approach to supporting to families including face to face and virtual using Zoom, Microsoft Teams; Skype, What's App etc.
• We run monthly mid-week virtual support groups.
• We have increased the use of social media with ideas of things to do with children during this challenging time.

With support from Welsh Government we have developed a range of group and one to one workshop, support & consultation sessions led by a clinical psychologist.


AFA has worked closely with NAS and our Regional partners to develop 3 bespoke e-learning modules to ‘’Support Effective Functioning during Covid-19’’. The modules are around an hour long, are free to access and are available on the AfACymru website

• Legal
• Transitions
• Assessment


AFA Cymru is in the process of redesigning its website to support information sharing, learning, training, workshops and webinars. The launch of AFA’s new website is eagerly anticipated in June.

Contact no :- 029 20667007
Email :-   info@stdavidscs.org


Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Adoption

The delivery of our service has changed due to Covid 19 restrictions but we are trying to minimise any disruption and are continuing to provide services to the best of our ability. The team are working remotely but are continuing to assess and offer advice and support.

Please call 01446706152 or complete the enquiry form on our website www.adopt4vvc.org and a duty worker will respond within 48 hours.


South East Wales Adoption Service

Our offices are still open using a skeleton staff to ensure that all enquires and adoption support requests are responded to. We are actively recruiting and family finding using remote platforms and face to face visits subject to public health guidelines

Adoption support is being delivered remotely and face to face in an emergency or when required. Adoption support are facilitating  online training and  providing resources to help parents with their children. There is remote contact  and direct contact with social workers who will continue to advise on any emerging issues and support you as they would do in normal circumstances. The South East Wales Adoptions Psychology Service is also working remotely for those of you who need therapeutic support.

Please don’t hesitate to make contact if you require support or wish to make an enquiry to adopt.

 

Barnardo’s Cymru Adoption Service

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak we have changed the way we are delivering services.  This will continue whilst restrictions are in place but is kept under constant review.  We are working virtually which means all our services have now moved online, where we continue to offer support and advice. We are still very keen to speak with you and any answer questions you may have by phone or email. Please do therefore complete the online – online enquiry form and we’ll respond within 48 hours. For enquiries please contact 0800 054 6788 or email bcafs@barnardos.org.uk

 

Adoption UK services for all adoptive families

Adoption UK runs the following support services for adoptive families in Wales.
Advice and support by phone and email
Adoption UK Cymru’s helpline is open to all adoptive parents, prospective adopters, special guardians, kinship carers and adopted adults.
Speak to experienced and friendly advisers on 0300 666 0006 (option 5) between 10am and 2.30pm Monday to Friday, or email wales@adoptionuk.org.uk
There is also a call back service if a more in-depth conversation is needed.
Family membership
Family Membership opens up a wealth of resources for adoptive families, including online events and webinars, discounts on leisure and travel, a growing online community, and Adoption Today magazine.
New adopters can speak to their adoption service about funded membership of Adoption UK.
Community groups
https://www.adoptionuk.org/community-groups-wales 
Meet other adopters and adopted people and build your support network. There are 20 community groups running across Wales, including groups for LGBTQ+ adopters, parents of teenagers, and single adopters. Groups are currently meeting online.
Training
https://www.adoptionuk.org/training-wales 
Build your skills and knowledge by attending a range of training courses, delivered by experienced practitioners and adopters. Courses are currently being delivered online.
TESSA


The Therapeutic, Education and Support Services in Adoption (TESSA) programme aims to empower adoptive parents, who are raising traumatised children, by giving them early access to a clinical psychologist as well as peer support.
This service is available for families who have had a child placed with them for a year or more. Please contact your regional adoption service or voluntary adoption agency to find out more.
Connected


https://www.adoptionuk.org/cyps-cymru 
Connected is the name of Adoption UK’s Children and Young People Service in Wales. At present, there are bespoke virtual monthly sessions for adopted children age 7- 10 and young people age 11 – 25 years. The monthly groups aim to improve children and young peoples’ self-confidence, build self-esteem, develop life skills, while helping to reduce the sense of isolation which some adopted children experience. Activities include art, drama, circus skills, healthy eating/cooking and music sessions to name but a few. These monthly sessions are offered in Cardiff, Swansea, South East, Mid & West and North Wales. Contact the Adoption UK helpline for an enquiry form.

 

 

Some things to help at the moment

1.       This is a useful website, called MindHub, an on-line portal to services that support children and young people with emotional and mental health and wellbeing issues.
See what is available at www.mindhub.wales
 

2.       Five tips for foster carers and adoptive parents. Coronavirus is affecting everyone’s lives. As adoptive parents or foster carers, this can bring different challenges – but we’re here to help

https://www.parents.actionforchildren.org.uk/covid-19-advice-support

 

Stay Home. Stay Positive: 10 top tips

 

 

Adoption UK has things to help with 

 

Self care

https://www.adoptionuk.org/self-care

 

Keeping occupied

https://www.adoptionuk.org/managing-anxiety

 

Home learning

 

https://www.adoptionuk.org/education-learning-resources

 

 

 

Our South East Wales Adoption Service has produced a guide to occupying children of various ages

Isolation/Lock Down Activity Ideas and Survival

 

 

 

 

Our Western Bay service has produced a guide to Surviving home isolation.

 

https://westernbayadoption.org/western-bays-guide-to-family-self-isolation/

 

 

 

Our service in Vale Valleys and Cardiff has some general information and support resources that may be helpful.

 

https://www.adopt4vvc.org/en/Adoption-Support/Read-Watch-Listen.aspx

 

 

We hope the information above will be helpful but services continue to be available by telephone and e-mail if you need to contact them.

 

Visits to children and families

Families who urgently require visits, particularly for adoption support, are being prioritised according to need.  Where it is necessary to visit, risk assessments will be undertaken. Where advice and or remote contact is appropriate, support will be offered that way. 

 

29.06.20 We will keep this page updated regularly

For Adopted Children and Adoptive Parents: Health Leaflets

In consultation with adoptive families across Wales, the National Adoption Service has identified areas where healthcare professionals in primary and secondary care services can positively contribute to the well being of adopted children, young people and their families by understanding more about some of the challenges that adopted young people often face as they are growing up.

In response to this consultation we have created leaflets and posters that may be helpful for you to download and share when your children have a health appointment and you would like the health professional dealing with them to know how to respond both in the consultation room and in the waiting area. 

Contact and the rights of children and young people adopted or in care

Contact between brothers and sisters following care proceedings can often be disjointed particularly where different arrangements are in place for different children from a family group as agreed by the court. In practice, much depends on the willingness of the adults involved to facilitate contact. The rise of social media has also changed the experience of 'contact' for many young people.  If you feel you or your children need more information about their legal rights to contact you can download the factsheet for children and young people to explain the legal position relating to contact between brothers and sisters in different placements and who are subject to different legal orders.

Adopted Adults

If you are an adopted adult you may have questions about your birth history or birth family. You can find out more:

For Adoptive Parents

Many adopters are entitled to adoption leave and pay when their child is placed with them www.gov.uk/adoption-pay-leave. The law is changing to make this entitlement more similar to maternity and paternity leave pay, and it will include the right to take time off when you are meeting your child, before they move in with you.

Adopters may have priority for council housing www.gov.uk/council-housing. If you are living in council housing and claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit while waiting for a child to move in you can also apply for funding (Discretionary Housing Payments) so that you are not penalized financially while you have an empty spare room.

You are also entitled to a summary of your child’s health from his or her local authority medical advisor before he or she is placed with you, and to a life-story book to help your child understand his or her early life.

You are also entitled to a summary of your child’s health from his or her local authority medical advisor before he or she is placed with you, and to a life-story book to help your child understand his or her early life.

There are a number of parenting skills courses that enable adoptive parents to learn new strategies for helping children who are finding it difficult to manage family life. The aim of such courses is to provide strategies to improve the relationship between parent and child and make the child more co-operative with the parents. Although some of the strategies may sound familiar, when you can discuss ideas in the group and benefit from the videos and other materials, parents often find a new and helpful perspective. Adopters also have really appreciated the opportunity to work alongside other adopters who understand each other’s situation and can be very supportive. Some courses run weekly for some weeks and some are over several days.

Parenting Skills Courses for Adopters include:

  • Parenting our Children is Adoption UK’s a new parenting programme that replaces ‘It’s a Piece of Cake’. It has been developed by Adoption UK and Family Futures and is delivered nationwide.
  • SafeBase is a therapeutic parenting programme run by After Adoption. It is Provided to adopters in the North Wales Adoption Service.

There may be other parenting courses available that your regional adoption collaborative can advise you about.

For Adopted Children

For adopted children in education

Schools are asked to give all children adopted from care priority access which means that your child should be able to attend whichever school you think best meets their needs. Guidance on school admissions can be found at:
http://gov.wales/docs/dcells/publications/130715-admin-codes-en.pdf

There will also be funding within the local education consortia to help your child’s school understand and meet any additional needs which your child has. This is through the Pupil Deprivation Grant and more information can be found at:
http://learning.gov.wales/news/sitenews/pupil-deprivation-grant-proposals-affecting-looked-after-children/?lang=en

If you feel your child needs extra support as a result of their adoption, you have the right to have an assessment of adoption support needs. If you think your child might have special educational needs you can ask your local authority to assess these needs too.

Support groups for adopted children

There are support groups for children and young people run by Adoption UK and called 'Connected'. They provide opportunities to meet with other adopted children, have fun activities as well as talk about common experiences. Contact Adoption UK for groups in your area. Alternatively you may contact your regional adoption service where you live.

Who should I ask for support?

Select a region

Results for your nearest agency

North Wales Adoption Service

01978 295311 or 0800 085 0774
adoption@wrexham.gov.uk

Adoption Mid and West Wales

01267 246970 or Powys 01874 614035
adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk; adoption@powys.gov.uk

Western Bay Adoption Service

0300 365 2222
enquiries@westernbayadoption.org

Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Adoption

0800 023 4064
adoption@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk

South East Wales Adoption Service

01495 355766
adoption@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

St David's Children Society

029 20667007
info@stdavidscs.org

Barnardo's Cymru

0800 054 6788
bcafs-south@barnardos.org.uk

Advice on Available Support

We know that getting the right support when you need it can make a big difference to a family struggling with adoption related issues. This website tells you about the support that you can expect to get in Wales after the adoption order is granted. You have some choices about where to go for support.

The National Adoption Service for Wales has developed a Framework for Adoption Support.  This Framework sets out our ambition to improve how adoptive families in Wales are supported and make it easier for the right help to be available when it is needed.  The current version of the Framework is available here.

In Wales the local authority Adoption Services work together in regional collaboratives. Some regional adoption collaboratives will be your first point of contact for adoption support and they will undertake an assessment of your adoption support needs. In other regions it will be local authority ‘intake and assessment’ teams who will undertake this assessment.

If you adopted through a Voluntary Adoption Agency such as St David’s or Barnardo’s you could also approach that agency to discuss the post adoption support services they may be able to offer.

Or, you may want to talk through your issues via the Adoption UK, Wales helpline . You are welcome to call to have an informal chat or to ask for information and advice. The Adoption UK help line focuses on the needs of adoptive families and the phone is usually answered by a trained adoptive parent. Please call 029 2023 0319  Monday to Friday 10am till 2.30pm. All new adopters in Wales are offered a year's membership of Adoption UK for free so if this applies to you and you haven't been offered this, please speak to Adoption UK or your agency.

AFA Cymru (The Association for Fostering and Adoption Cymru) also provide a helpline for professionals or members of the public.  They can be contacted on Cardiff 029 20761155 or Rhyl 01745 336336.  

Adoption Support Services

Becoming a parent will be rewarding, fulfilling and fun but sometimes tiring and demanding. Sometimes adopted children have additional needs and many adoptive families benefit from some help and advice at different stages in their family life.

Difficulties can arise from early experiences which influence your child’s behaviour at home or at school and you might want some advice or support to manage this.

Or maybe there are some aspects of being an adoptive family which other families don’t experience. For example adopted children often need help to understand their past, or may want to find out more about their birth family or contact arrangements.

Getting the adoption support you need for you and your family can be anything from joining a local adoption support group to having a social worker support you for a period of time or getting specialist therapeutic support for your child.

Some services may be provided without an assessment having to take place, for example, support groups or advice and information. Read on in the sections about: Advice on Available Support, For Adopted Children, For Adoptive Parents.

Other services may be provided following an assessment of need. During an assessment of your adoption support needs a social worker may make contact with other services that may be able to help such as health, Child and Adolescent mental Health Services and education.

An assessment may consider your need for the following services;-

  • Counselling, information and advice
  • Help with behavioural, attachment and other difficulties in adopted children
  • Financial support
  • Help with contact between an adopted child and his or her birth family
  • Meetings and events to enable groups of adopters, adoptive children or birth parents to get together
  • Training to help adopters to meet the needs of their adoptive child
  • Short breaks for an adopted child with another carer
  • Help where an adoption breaks down or is at risk of breaking down.

 

 

Taking the next step

View the FAQs about adoption Frequently asked questions
Speak to an adoption advisor Find your nearest adoption agency

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