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

Continuing the series of emails we have circulated in recent months, below are some further updates and resources specifically relevant to work with looked after children and those living in kinship, foster and adoptive families. It is encouraging that these are no longer wholly taken up with Covid related issues - although the challenges for practitioners and carers are potentially greater in a prolonged period of fluctuating risk with few certainties to guide decision making. Thanks again to those who have agreed to share information - 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.  We are now in a position to offer online training events which are detailed below. 

Forthcoming online training events  

Specialised Course - £2985.00 + VAT

  • 'Securing Children's Futures'  Good Practice in Permanence Planning and Family Placement

This post qualifying course is aimed at social workers and managers in children and families' teams, family placement teams as well as other specialist settings across the statutory, voluntary and independent sector.  Applicants will require the support of their employer to attend as well as validate their work.  It is imperative that sponsoring agencies ensure their nominated students have the motivation, capacity and commitment to complete the course.  Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions, this course will be delivered virtually.    

For further details on the course, click here and to download an application form click here

Workshop:  Full-day £85.00 + VAT per delegate

  • Minute Taking for Kinship Care Panels - 7 September, 2020

Kinship care panels deal with making complex recommendations for children and their families. This online workshop will consider the task of being a minute taker within these meetings where crucial life-changing discussions take place. It will consider the legal context, explore key information required for a good minute, discuss useful kinship research relevant to the role and share good practice with others in a safe setting.  For further information and to download a booking form, click here

Government guidance

Easing restrictions: The Scottish Government continues to update guidance on its 4 phase route map for easing Covid restrictions, with the move to phase 3  starting on 10 July being managed in stages - phase 3 - stages.  Additional information published on 14 July clarified  what you can and cannot do in phase 3. This sits alongside specific guidance relating to managing residential childcare facilities issued in June - residential childcare guidance. Some helpful information about what this all means for children of different ages is available on the parent club website at Parent Club Coronavirus information.

Legal issues

The most recent legal notes from AFA Scotland’s legal consultant – legal notes - provide information on developments relating to  siblings – firstly from the Children (Scotland) Bill and secondly as a commentary on the recent judgements from the Supreme Court.

Research

  • FACE 19 rapid research project – Families and Children’s Experience of Covid-19: Many thanks for the excellent response to requests to participate in this study led by Stirling University and funded by the Chief Scientist Office. AFA’s focus is on kinship carers, the children they look after and the workers who support them.  For the second phase we are looking for practitioners, carers or children willing to share their experiences by interview. If you, your colleagues or carers/children you work with might be willing to be involved in this way, please contact Maggie Grant at AFA (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Judy Warburton at Stirling University (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). The research promises to provide valuable information about the impact of the crisis, how we navigate the process of recovery and manage any second wave - so any assistance you can give will be greatly appreciated. More information at: FACE 19
  • Burnout in kinship and foster care: Christine Clark, a clinical psychology trainee at the University of Edinburgh is undertaking research into compassion fatigue or burnout in foster and kinship care. If you know of any carers who might be willing to complete an anonymous online questionnaire, taking about 30 minutes (available in paper form for those who don’t have online access) please ask them to share their details with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. More information available at Caring for the Carers. Christine is committed to sharing the results of her work with carers and practitioners in due course.

Emerging Practice Examples

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

  • Virtual preparation groups for adopters: Barnardos have now run several on-line preparation groups and shared the attached notes on how they have learned from the early experience and developed the approach – virtual prep groups.
  • Progressing carer assessments during Covid: another example from Barnardos, with advice about when and how to take forward enquiries and assessments and what is required before these progress to panel – enquiries and assessments.
  • Relationship based social work in child protection: the Recognition Matters knowledge exchange project in Edinburgh have produced the Recognition matters video in which a young women, Azaria, tells the story of her issues with drug use and how she transforms her life with the right support in order to be a mother to her baby. If you have 19 minutes available this is an important piece of work and provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the way we can adapt and improve services to fully reflect the benefits of respectful and inclusive processes. A briefing about the project is available recognition matters briefing.
  • Moving children to adoption placements: Adopt North East, in Northumberland have produced a risk assessment for considering if, when and how transitions should proceed - ANE risk assessment.

Kinship Care

  • Kinship Care Advice Service Scotland (KCASS): the Scottish Government has just announced that from 1 September, KCASS will be run in collaboration by AFA Scotland and Adoption UK Scotland, along with a more formalised link to Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). The front-line advice and support elements of the service will be delivered by Adoption UK Scotland with AFA Scotland providing support and training to practitioners and agencies. More information about the change, in the form on an FAQ, is available at: NKCASS FAQ.
  • Recruitment of Kinship Consultant: as part of the KCASS developments, AFA Scotland is recruiting a full time Kinship Care Consultant. Further information about the post (closing date 31/7/20) is available at AFA News.
  • Information on kinship care services across Scotland: Fiona Clements, the Scottish Government’s adviser on Kinship Care, has shared two papers summarising the information gathered from visits to agencies and kinship carer groups across Scotland over the last year. These provide excellent information about what’s working well, what the challenges are and how carers are experiencing services. The two papers are available at agencies report and carers report.
  • Trauma resources: over recent weeks the kinship forum have put together some helpful information to support those caring for children and young people during Covid – available at: kinship forum - understanding trauma.

 Other Updates

  • Independent Care Review – The Promise: the Promise Team that will lead on taking forward the work of the ICR began work on 1 July and is currently recruiting members – more information at The Promise.
  • Independent Care Review evidence framework: on 24 June, the ICR published the research and evidence collated and analysed throughout the review’s three years of work. At 1,763 pages it is not a quick read, but an excellent source of information and data - ICR evidence framework.
  •  Preventing sexual abuse online: a new guide from ‘Stop it now’ provides advice and information on digital parenting to help keep children safe on line - internet safety - carer's guide . Although written with kinship carers in mind, it will be valuable for all parents and carers.
  • Black lives matter: A number of organisations within the social work and children's sectors have responded to the Black Lives Matter movement including these responses from BASW and CoramBAAF. Two specific resources that may be on interest are a free on line publication A Parent's Guide to Black Lives Matter and a fabulous Online Library of virtual books produced by Birmingham City Council (if for no other reason have a look at this as a great example of how to make information accessible).

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.

The AFA Scotland Team

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

  • 10 Sep
    WOS Meeting & Special Interest Group 11:00 AM to 03:30 PM
  • 10 Sep - 10 Sep
  • 01 Oct - 01 Oct
  • 08 Oct - 08 Oct

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