AFA Scotland provides many continuous professional development opportunities for social workers and related professionals which include specialised workshops and conferences, commissioned training and consultancy, specialised courses, and practice sessions. Individual agencies or groups of agencies can commission training on a topic that has a particular importance for them; our approach would be flexible with training materials tailored to meet individual needs.
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The role of the minute taker in adoption and fostering panels is a crucial one. Panels are underpinned by specific legal and regulatory requirements. This means that minute takers need to have enough of an understanding of these requirements in order to produce a minute that is relevant, clear and appropriate.
Adoption and fostering social workers have a clear role in assessing and supporting foster carers and adopters. The ability to keep children’s safety at the core of these processes is paramount. The child protection reform programme provided the framework for the protection of children in Scotland for all aspects of public and private life, including family placement. This workshop will consider the child protection context focusing on the needs of children, helping carers to manage disclosures and caring for children who have been sexually abused. Managing allegations will also be considered.
This workshop will consider the current research around both adoption disruptions and disruptions in permanent foster placements. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the latest research as well as share experiences and practice with workers from different agencies. It is aimed at team managers across family placement teams and social workers in both fostering and adoption settings.
This course focuses specifically on foster care, considering all aspects of the assessment required for people embarking on the fostering task. As well as considering the key tasks involved in the assessment, it will help assessors identify the capacities that foster carers will require in order to provide safe, nurturing care to children and young people. It will consider the theories around what supports good placements and will use case material to explore what skills workers will need to use in assessments.
The Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 provides the overarching framework for adoption and fostering panels in Scotland. Panels make key recommendations which affect the lives of children, foster carers and adopters. Many of these recommendations have life-long consequences for those involved. It is therefore important that panel members have a clear understanding of the function of panels as well as having an opportunity to consider their role in this process. This workshop is aimed at new adoption and fostering panel members and panel advisers, and may also be of interest to new medical and legal advisers.
Contact is a critical aspect to progressing permanence planning for children. This interactive workshop is an opportunity for practitioners to consider such a complex issue. Legal framework, research and good practice will be explored through real life scenarios.
Workers will gain a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of the types of contact, purpose of contact and assessments needed to be done at the various stages of the permanence process from the Children’s Hearings decisions to post order contact. This is a practical and informed workshop that deals with the often frustrating challenges workers face when dealing with contact.
Suitable for all social workers and managers who work in fostering teams and who have supervisory responsibility for foster carers. This workshop will be helpful both for workers who are new to fostering and for more experienced workers who are seeking to refresh their knowledge and skills. It will look at the purpose of supervision in foster care and how it can assist in providing high quality care for children who are looked after. It will provide an opportunity to share good practice ideas with colleagues from other agencies and spend time looking at common dilemmas and difficulties. It will be delivered through use of both taught material and case studies.
Designed for practitioners and managers working in adoption and fostering, it considers all elements involved in the crucial task of undertaking thorough and robust assessments of prospective carers, from initial enquiry to presentation at panel.
Decisions we make around siblings are likely to throw up some of the toughest dilemmas we face in family placement work. How do we decide whether children can safely remain together or whether we should look for separate placements? Is our decision making resource led or child led?
This workshop will consider the available research and allow us to think about how to shape our practice to ensure we take account of all key factors involved. Suitable for child care and family placement social workers, it is an opportunity to share ideas and good practice across agencies and consider how to apply the latest evidence to our decision making.
The ADM has an essential role in making decisions about the best plans for children, their carers and adopters. The Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 provides the framework for this role. However, beyond this framework there is very little guidance to inform and support agency decision makers, particularly when dilemmas arise. The process of making the decision will vary across agencies but there are some key good practice considerations.
The statutory and regulatory imperative to review foster carers is clear in Scotland. Whilst there is a framework to guide the functions of reviews, the reality of managing the varied and complex aspects of the review can be challenging. Their importance is critical in making sure that children are looked after in the best possible circumstances.
This workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to look at what works well in reviews as well as considering what happens when there are difficulties. It will be suitable for foster carer review chairs, panel members and advisors as well as members of family placement teams who present at reviews
The skill of a children and families social worker presenting confidently at adoption and fostering panels is one that is improved upon by experience. Ultimately, it is achieved by having the underpinning knowledge of the expectations of the panel process and clarity about planning for children where permanence and adoption feature. This workshop will aim to provide the tools for children and families workers to participate effectively in this process on behalf of vulnerable children. It is aimed at children and families social workers and their managers. It may also be of benefit to anyone who has a quality assurance role with adoption and permanence panels.
Navigating your way around the law and making it relevant to your day-to-day work gives social workers the knowledge, confidence and competence to intervene in families’ lives where the need arises. This workshop explains the powers, duties and obligations of the decision makers, workers and carers and the rights and responsibilities of children and parents. The training is tailored for those new to children and family work and permanence or for those looking for clarification of child care law. Plenary sessions, case scenarios, quizzes and discussions bring the law to life and show how it can be applied to improve outcomes for children.
Suitable for those new to the process of moving children on, more experienced practitioners seeking to refresh their knowledge and foster carers whose involvement and perspective on the process are critical. A child’s move to permanent placement can be a time of anticipation and excitement, but it may also trigger feelings of loss and anxiety.
Delegates will consider steps that can be taken to ensure the transition from temporary placement to permanent placement is made as positive as possible.
Children’s Hearings decide whether the plans made by social workers will be implemented. This workshop will support and inform the worker in their pivotal role within the Hearing System in promoting the agency recommendation so that the best outcome for the child will be achieved.
Delegates will be provided with an insight into the mechanics of the System explaining the various orders, the best way for the worker to prepare and present at Hearings, the importance of the written report and reviewing the progress of work carried out under the Orders. This training is a must for any worker attending Hearings.
Kinship carers look after some of our most vulnerable children, often as a direct alternative to children being received into care.
This workshop will look at the significant changes under new legislation to their legal status, financial entitlements and the local authority’s duties in supporting them. It will draw on up-to-date research that highlights the experiences of children and kinship carers. It sheds light on how workers can meet the unique challenges involved to promote stability for the child within a kinship care setting.
Social networking is here to stay in an ever-changing world. Our confidence levels about how to manage this phenomenon can vary. The importance of social media in young people’s lives can challenge supervising social workers, foster carers and adopters. The issue of unmediated online contact is one that arises on a consistent basis. This workshop will aim to provide an overview of how the impact of these changes have been managed and progressed in adoption and fostering.
Panel chairs require an essential set of knowledge, skills and values in order for the process to achieve positive outcomes for children. The business of panels is complex, they make recommendations about adoption and permanence plans for children, approve foster carers and adopters and consider matches. They also oversee the reviews of foster carers and adopters. In addition, the provisions of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 allow any agency decision to be reviewed or ‘appealed’ and this also falls under the remit of these panels. Whilst experience of chairing other meetings is helpful, there are unique aspects to chairing panels which will form the basis of this workshop.
Using case scenarios, the worker will follow 3 children through the legal framework of the care system providing a continuous link between the various stages of the process.
An intensive and interactive day looking at what happens at Children’s Hearings, in permanence planning and in Court, the workshop will look at the decisions open to Hearings, at the mechanics of permanence orders, direct petitions and kinship care orders and explain their practical application.
The workshop is a must for the new and experienced practitioners who want to navigate the process in order to minimise drift and delay and to make effective and practical decisions appropriate for each child.
When permanent placement away from home is planned for a child, a report must be written that serves multiple purposes and requires the greatest care. The child’s social worker must make sure that the child, their family, their history and their current and future needs are thoroughly understood and set out in writing.
This report is written for a range of different audiences, including Panels, Courts and potential future substitute parents for the child. Writing a report that meets the requirements of a range of parties while remaining sensitive and child focussed can feel an overwhelming challenge for social workers.
This workshop will explore the use of the Report to satisfy the needs of competing audiences and, most importantly, those of the child now and in the future.
A significant aspect of a social worker’s role is appearing in court where their practice, training and application of the law is tested. A thorough but accessible explanation of the legislation and decisions made by courts will be complimented by a step-by-step guide to appearing in court and an opportunity to take part in a mock proof.
This training will support the social worker in preparing and presenting confidently in court so that they can showcase the hard work they have put in to promoting and planning for permanence.