Following the Government’s latest advice about how best to respond to Coronavirus, please be advised that all AFA staff are now working from home but can still be reached in all the usual ways for advice and support.
We know that practitioners and agencies are under enormous pressure maintaining critical services for vulnerable children, and that there are particular challenges for children who are looked after and their families and carers. Although we have postponed face-to-face meetings, we will arrange online discussions for the forums and consortia so that practitioners have the opportunity to discuss the situation with colleagues and share ideas and solutions that ensure effective care and planning for children is still provided.
Along with everyone else, those involved with the care of looked after children are facing huge challenges responding to the coronavirus crisis. While all Local authorities and agencies are developing their own contingency plans with remarkable speed, and updating these on a regular basis, communication within and between agencies will be critical in developing and implementing problem-solving strategies so that essential services are maintained. Outlined below are details on how AFA Scotland is adapting its work in response to the situation in order to provide the most useful support to agencies and practitioners.
Advice and support
Advice and support continues to be available in the usual way. With the situation changing by the day we are learning and adapting like everyone else, but we are in contact with a lot of agencies and other relevant organisations and are in a good position to share information about emerging strategies. We may also have capacity to seek answers for practitioners who need to focus their time on the provision of direct services.
Communication, contact and support between agencies
AFA’s existing practitioner forums have an established record of helping agencies share information, resolve emerging problems and offer mutual support, and can play an exceptionally valuable role in the current situation. Clearly face to face meetings are not an option, but we will run the forum and consortia meetings using online conferencing facilities and do whatever we can to support people to participate. Although the technology involved is unfamiliar to many, the logistics are relatively straightforward and will allow people to make links with colleagues in other areas in a time-efficient way. Details of the Family Placement Forum on Monday 30th March being held using ‘GoToMeetings’ have been sent to members of that group: please get in touch if you need support to join the forum.
Virtual meetings and adoption and fostering panels
Many agencies are considering the possibility of extending the use of virtual meetings, including for adoption and fostering panels. AFA staff who chair panels are supporting agencies to continue to run panels in this way. We have produced some initial guidance for agencies considering this approach which will be updated as the practice develops. https://afascotland.com/news
Links to CoramBAAF
All AFA members are able to access information produced by CoramBAAF, which has created an information resource with advice for those in the adoption and fostering sector on how to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic. While some of the advice in England specific, much of it is relevant across the whole of the UK. https://corambaaf.org.uk/coronavirus.
Existing bookings for AFA training courses / commissioned training
In line with current advice, AFA Scotland staff are working from home and all face-to-face training events have been postponed. If you have already booked a place on a training course we will be in touch once it is possible to organise a new date and will update the training and events section on our website accordingly. In due course, we may provide training options online and again will share information about opportunities as they arise.
Please let us know if there are other ways we can support your work - both as part of the immediate response to the pandemic and, in the longer term, helping carers, workers and agencies to recover from the impact of what has happened.
The Adoption and Fostering Alliance (AFA) Scotland is an independent, charitable organisation dedicated to improving outcomes for children in care by providing support to all those working in the field of adoption, fostering and the care of looked after children. AFA Scotland was established following the demise of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) in July 2015 and continues to provide services in collaboration with CoramBAAF.
An emphasis is placed in all AFA Scotland’s work on the need for a multi-disciplinary approach that enables social workers, lawyers, health professionals and educators to work effectively across professional boundaries in order to meet the needs of children and their carers. As a membership organisation, AFA Scotland helps to give agencies and individual members a national and regional voice and contributes to the development of policy and practice at a local and national level.
The team provides direct services to agencies, including chairing adoption panels, appeal panels, disruption meetings, and running case consultation sessions. An emphasis is placed in all AFA Scotland’s work on the need for a multi-disciplinary approach that enables social workers, lawyers, health professionals and educators to work effectively across professional boundaries in order to meet the needs of children and their carers. As a membership organisation, AFA Scotland helps to give agencies and individual members a national and regional voice and contributes to the development of policy and practice at a local and national level.
In addition we have a comprehensive selection of 1 and 2 day workshops which are highlighted below.
Membership makes sense as it opens up a range of benefits. This includes member only forums and spotlight sessions, access to our research papers and discounts from our training, conferences and seminars.
AFA Scotland’s multi-disciplinary team has a wealth of experience and up-to-date expertise in adoption and fostering practice. We deliver a wide range of training, consultancy and workshops to assist professionals develop the knowledge and skills they require when working in this specialist area.
Our conferences bring everything together for additional insight into whats going on in the field of adoption and fostering.
We have over 20 established training workshops that cover the full spectrum of the skills and knowledge required in the Adoption and Fostering environment.
These include course such as:
- CPO to POA - A childs journey towards permanance
- Role of the agency decison maker
- Overview of child care law in Scotland
- Whose minute is it anyway?
- Assessing foster carers and adopters
- When placements disrupt in adoption and fostering
- Kinship care, understanding the law and research for kinship carers
- Be court ready, keeping knowledge and skills current
- ....and many more