Update on our services in the current Covid-19 pandemic
As restrictions due to Covid-19 ease, we hope everyone is continuing to keep safe and well. We recognise that the longer-term impact of the pandemic will continue to affect us all, especially children and their families. Our priority is to ensure that our children and families remain safe and are supported to recover from the negative impacts of the pandemic.
Please be assured that adoption services across Wales will continue to work within UK and Welsh Government and Public Health Wales guidelines, adapting as these change. Throughout the pandemic we have provided as many services as possible, even though some have been offered in a different way as a result of staff working remotely or from home. As restrictions have lifted and we all learn to live with Covid-19, some of those services will be offered face to face once more, while some will continue to be offered virtually, where this is advantageous.
Everybody’s safety and welfare continue to be our main priority. We will keep this page updated as and when there are any significant changes. Please bear with us as things continue to change.
Should you need specific parenting or adoption advice, Adoption UK’s Wales helpline is open. You can call on 02920 230319 or email email@example.com. There is also advice, information and resources geared to the impact of Covid-19 here.
If you have any major health concerns regarding the Coronavirus, please also visit the NHS website.
Adoption services across Wales
Our Regional and Voluntary Adoption Agency staff are continuing to deliver their services. Many of the offices have re-opened, but a greater proportion of staff continue to work from home than was the case pre-pandemic. They continue to be available via e-mail, telephone and increasingly video conferencing. Face-to-face visits will resume on the basis of assessments of risk, in terms of the staff, people and places visited, using the most up to date public health guidance
Recruitment visits and assessments
For most agencies, these visits will continue to be conducted using a mixture of on-line and face-to-face contact, subject to risk assessments and any current guidance.
Adoption panels will continue to prioritise business involving approvals and matching of children with prospective adopters. For the moment most will continue to take place virtually. Some agencies hope in due course to return to face to face meetings, while others will remain virtual for the foreseeable future.
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
Those taking part in Matching meetings will continue to do so virtually as well as using information from written reports.
Introductions for children moving into adoptive placements will continue to take place using an agreed framework developed to support Welsh adoption services to assess and manage risk depending on prevailing conditions. Each situation will be considered jointly on a case-by-case basis by the agency for the adopters and the authority responsible for the child. All involved will ensure that they adhere to Government/Public Health advice at the time, while also meeting necessary legal guidelines in relation to adoption. Services aim to keep everyone informed but if you have any queries about how you may be affected by this this please speak to your Social Worker.
Adoptive families and professionals should contact their regional or voluntary adoption service to access the range of adoption support services that can be 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Services across Wales adapted to provide services safely during throughout the health emergency; including the new services funded by the Welsh Government such as the TESSA which are provided in partnership by local authorities and Adoption UK. Where individual agencies have found that new ways of providing support services work well, these will continue.
Children will be moved in line with any agreed plans, subject to necessary risk assessments and Public Health advice at the time and through consultation with all those involved.
Visits to children and families
As always, families who urgently require visits, particularly for adoption support, will be prioritised according to need. Where advice and or remote contact is more appropriate, support will be offered that way. Dependent on prevailing health advice, risk assessments may have to be undertaken.
Preparation and other training for adopters
Since the onset of the pandemic, preparation, and other training taken place predominantly through virtual platforms. It is likely that this will continue for the foreseeable future.
A resource pack, with reading and other exercises that prospective adopters can do themselves, is available online. This helps 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.
A variety of NAS post approval training modules have been put online, so those adopters who wish to work through these themselves can do so. A range of other training/development activities for approved adopters are being provided by individual services through video conferencing on online self-study.
Throughout these challenging times, we continue to be here for anyone about to start or who is 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.
Please see our Adoption Support section for further information
Support services to adoptive families by the regional collaboratives and voluntary adoption agencies
We hope everyone is continuing to keep safe and well. As before, our priority is to continue to ensure that our children and families remain safe and are supported.
We outline below how individual agencies are currently providing adoption support while continuing to do so 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 continue to change.
North Wales Adoption Service
NWAS staff continue to be available daily by phone, or remotely through Microsoft Teams or Zoom or by email to adoptive families to offer support.
Initial visits, training, assessments, Linking, matching, panels are all being done remotely through Microsoft Teams and Zoom although increasing personal visits are being made in those areas where appropriate, all continue to be risk-assessed.
Support to adopters and children is being delivered both remotely and personally where appropriate and are also risk assessed.
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.
Back to school
It was only natural that children might feel worried about going back to school. An amazing new book, ‘Sammy sloth goes back to school’, written and designed by Rachel, one of our Mid and West Wales adoption support workers, was designed to put their minds at ease and get them excited about getting back in the classroom. Read it together here:
Western Bay Adoption Service
WBAS has returned to working in a similar way to pre COVID times. The office is open, and staff are available via email, telephone, and virtual calls. Face to face meetings may be subject to risk assessment. We continue to offer a variety of adoption support services either remotely or face to face. The team are also continuing to recruit and assess perspective adopters. Family finding activities are continuing using a variety of online and face to face resources. WBAS continue to offer a range of support group and training activities. Please don’t hesitate to make contact if you require further support or wish to make an enquiry to adopt.
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 using a mix of virtual and in person but outdoors support and play groups.
• We have increased the use of social media with ideas of things to do with children during this challenging time.
With ongoing support from Welsh Government we have developed a range of group and one to one workshops, support & consultation sessions led by a clinical psychologist.
AFA 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.
AFA has been commissioned by NAS to develop a Wales Early Permanence framework and are consulting with a range of stakeholders to complete this exciting task.
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 September.
Contact no: 029 20667007
Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Adoption
The delivery of our service has continued to adapt to meet Covid 19 restrictions and we are continuing to provide services within these constraints. The team are working remotely but are continuing to assess, offer advice and provide face to face support where required.
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 open 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 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
As we learn to live with Covid-19 and get back to the things we love, we have thought about the best ways to keep life safely moving along. With this in mind, we have now adopted a blended approach which means whilst we continue to work virtually we will also getting out to meet with families within their homes. 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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also a call back service if a more in-depth conversation is needed.
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.
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.
Build your skills and knowledge by attending a range of training courses, delivered by experienced practitioners and adopters. Courses are currently being delivered online.
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 is the name of Adoption UK’s Children and Young People Service in Wales. There are monthly group 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
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 affected everyone’s lives. As adoptive parents or foster carers, this brought different challenges – but we’re here to help
Adoption UK has things to help with
Our South East Wales Adoption Service has produced a guide to occupying children of various ages
Our Western Bay service has produced a guide to Surviving home isolation.
Our service in Vale Valleys and Cardiff has some general information and support resources that may be helpful.
Individual advice and support
We hope the information above will be helpful. Individual advice and support is also available via telephone and e-mail contact if needed.
Families who urgently require visits, particularly for adoption support, where telephone or email advice is not appropriate, are prioritised according to need. Where necessary, risk assessments will be undertaken.