AFA Staff Working from Home

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.

Whats Different

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, regular online discussions are taking place in all our 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.

COVID-19 Articles

The updates section below provides a summary of the latest things that are happening. However clicking on the button below will take you to our dedicated COVID-19 page for all the items we have added to date.

COVID19 AFA UPDATES

I hope you are continuing to keep well as we begin to see the first tentative steps towards an easing of the lockdown measures. Detailed below, some further updates and resources specifically relevant to work with looked after children and those living in kinship, foster and adoptive families. Most agencies report a new focus on extending areas of work and consideration of longer-term plans to address the legacy of the crisis. Judgements about what work is manageable and appropriate potentially become more complicated as the clear prohibitions of the early phase are replaced by more nuanced guidance, but increasingly there are opportunities to move forward with some of the crucial work that has been on hold. We will continue to update information and guidance so do check our website for the latest versions - AFA Scotland

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. 

Upcoming online training events for members:  Online half-day spotlight sessions:  £20.00 + VAT per delegate

Profiling Children during COVID-19:  informing ongoing family finding - Wednesday 24 June, 2020

The value of a good profile of a child, both written and video, cannot be under-estimated.  The current COVID-19 situation prevents the staging of Adoption Exchange and Activity Days, therefore the first information a prospective adopter is likely to see will be in a child's profile.  To read more and download an application form, please click here   

Planning and Managing transitions for children in the Pandemic

Wednesday 1 July, 2020   THIS SESSION IS NOW FULLY BOOKED THEREFORE WE HAVE ADDED ANOTHER DATE

Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Practice in placing children with permanent carers has been changing over the past few years, with the process being extended to include "bump in" meetings, relationship building between foster carers and permanent carers/adopters and encouraement of continuing relationships between them once the child has moved.   To read more and download an application form, please click here.

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. For advice contact 0131 322 8490 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. With so much information available on line, it can be time consuming to find information and resources that are specifically relevant to work with looked after children and those living in kinship, foster and adoptive families, so AFA Scotland is also producing regular information updates for members.

Legal updates

The latest legal update from Rhona Pollock, Legal Consultant, provides information on the following developments:

  •  Additional coronavirus legislation: The Coronavirus (Scotland)(No.2) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 21 May 2020. This extends the provisions of the previous Act but does not relate specifically to children’s services/looked after children. The SPICe briefing providing a summary of the provisions is included here.
  • Route map to resumption of Children’s Hearings: the First Minister included the resumption of face-to-face children’s hearings as part of her announcement about Phase 1 of the easing of lockdown restrictions - likely to be from 28th May (4 phase plan summary). SCRA  have published a ‘route map out of lockdown’ clarifying that face-to-face hearings will only be able to take place with strict social distancing measures in place and that there will be a phased approach to returning to  traditional style hearings. SCRA route map out of lockdown
  • SCRA summary of Coronavirus changes: on 21 May, SCRA published a helpful briefing designed to help children, young people and families understand the procedural changes (including timescales) resulting from the Coronavirus legislation. Coronavirus briefing
  • Court business: the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) has been helpful in providing updates about what is happening with Court proceedings during lockdown. Their responses to queries raised are provided here - SCTS updated information

Research

  • Face19 study: This rapid research study aims to understand how the implications of the pandemic are affecting the wellbeing of children, families and workers, and what services are doing or could be doing to help mitigate this. We would encourage those working with children and their families to participate in this important work  – if you or your colleagues are interested, the survey can be completed here: https://tinyurl.com/ycdaf6ua  with further information available at Keyworkers Survey Flyer

 Contact between children and their families during lockdown

  • Beth Neil research: the findings of of the rapid research project by Beth Neil and colleagues at UAE has just been published - contact during lockdown. This provides a really helpful summary of the key issues in managing the challenges, risks and opportunities involved, and complements the webinar - details of which were previously circulated at: Virtual Contact webinar.     
  • The effects of digital contact on children’s well-being: another publication from the Nuffield Foundation, this rapid evidence review summarises findings from 16 UK and international studies to examine what is known about the implications of digital contact for the well-being of children who have been separated from their birth relatives: evidence review.

 Kinship care finance

  • Financial advice for Kinship Carers: useful advice from CPAG on their ‘ASK CPAG’ page for kinship carers financially affected by the coronavirus outbreak, at:  ASK CPAG

Transitions

  • Transitions for children between placements: AFA Scotland has summarised the available advice and information in relation to moving children between households - guidance on managing transitions
  • Guidance on testing children being moved between or to new care placements: On 14th May, Iona Colvin, the Scottish Government’s Chief Social Work Adviser/ Interim Director of Children and Families, sent a letter to CSWOs and Directors of Public Health giving advice on coronavirus testing for children being moved between or to new care placements - Iona Colvin letter
  • Transitions for young people who require additional support:  the Coronavirus situation presents particular challenges for young people who require additional support who and are due to leave school or college this summer (2020). ARC Scotland and the Scottish Transitions Forum have published revised guidance to provide a practical framework to help partners to coordinate contingency planning for this group of young people: ARC transitions guidance

 Emerging practice examples

Many thanks to agencies who have shared examples of practice so that others can draw on the work they are developing.

  • Home visiting guidance: Angus Council has shared the document they produced giving advice on when it is appropriate to visit children and families at home - home visiting guidance, along with a separate document to assist in decisions about when PPE should be used: PPE for home visits~
  • Approval of staff as foster carers: Inverclyde Council shared the procedure they have developed for approving members of staff to provide contingency foster care placements contingency carer approval.

Other resources

  • Managing anxiety: in addition to the useful resources available from Young Scot previously mentioned (Young Scot - Aye Feel), a really practical toolkit for managing anxiety during Covid 19 that is targeted at adults is available from the Epione training agency - managing anxiety during Covid-19
  • Books for children: For any Gruffalo fans – the publishers Nosy Crow have published a free information book for primary school age children explaining the coronavirus and measures taken to control it - illustrated by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler. Coronavirus - a book for children

Other news

  • Independent care review: We were delighted to hear that the Scottish Government has established an independent oversight body to take forward the work of the Care Review and that Fiona Duncan has agreed to chair the new body - ICR - the promise
  • Children who go missing from care: The Scottish Government, SWS and Police Scotland issued a joint statement on 22 May setting out how to manage situations where children go missing from care during the pandemic - missing from care - joint statement
  • Children and online gambling: with concerns expressed about online gambling during lockdown, Fast Forward are offering a series of free webinars for practitioners who work with parents, carers and families across Scotland exploring current issues surrounding gambling and young people. Details at: 11 June webinar; 2 July webinar; 23 July webinar

Please continue to share examples of emerging practice that we can pass on and  let us know if there are other ways we can support your work - both in the short term, and looking further ahead at ways of helping carers, workers and agencies to recover from the impact of what has happened. 

 

At the heart of Adoption and Fostering in Scotland

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.

New Course

Relative Matters: Good Practice in Permanence Planning in Kinship Care

Upcoming Events

  • 11 Jun
    WOS Meeting & Special Interest Group 11:00 AM to 03:30 PM

Direct Services & Panels

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.

Direct Services

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Member Services

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.

Member Forums

Get Event Discounts

Research Material

CoramBAAF Access

Member Services
Training Events

Direct Services, Workshops 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
Training Events

AFA Scotland is registered as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) - SC046417