Sibling relationships headline Adoption Week Scotland 2020

Adoption Week (16-20 November) celebrates adoption in Scotland and this year asks prospective adopters whether they could adopt a sibling group?

More than 1,300 children placed for adoption since April 2018 across the UK have been separated from birth siblings, it was reported earlier this year*.

Children requiring care away from their birth families are more likely to have existing sibling relationships and they also tend to come from larger sibling groups. Sibling groups of three, or more, are at greater risk of being separated, to achieve permanence through adoption. In fact, in Scotland at this moment in time there is not one adopter approved to adopt three, or more children.

Fiona Aitken, Adoption UK’s Scotland Director, said: “Sibling relationships are amongst our longest lasting relationships and contribute greatly to our sense of identity. Positive sibling relationships can provide a source of resilience for children facing adversity and provide continuity at a time of change and uncertainty. They can also be a source of support into adulthood. Placing siblings together has been associated with increased wellbeing and stable, enduring placements.”

If you are a prospective adopter, please do consider whether you could adopt a sibling group. Be open to being approved for more than one child to enable a younger sibling(s) to join your family.

Adoptive families can also help to maintain sibling relationships between their child/ren and their brothers and sisters wherever they are. This can be in person, through visual media, cards, letters, pictures or photographs.

Mrs Aitken continued: “The ideal scenario is for children to experience normal family life. Can they meet up with siblings at the park, at the beach, at each other’s homes? Can they have sleepovers? Can this be arranged between families? You can start by discussing this with your social worker.”

A siblings’ webinar (17th, 7pm-830pm), on how to maintain relationships between brothers and sisters, will be chaired by Kate Richardson, Manager of Scotland’s Adoption Register.

Adoption Week Scotland will also shine a light on both therapeutic parenting and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is a range of physical, emotional and developmental deficits or delays that may affect a person when they were exposed to alcohol during pregnancy.

Highlights of the week include Training from Dr Karen Treisman on Therapeutic Parenting (16th, 19:30-21:30); an FASD Webinar (18th, 6.30pm-7.30pm) for prospective adopters; and Insights into FASD (17th, 1pm-3.30pm), a training session for professionals working with families affected by FASD.

There will also be a live Q&A event with Children’s Minister Maree Todd, (18th, 11am-1pm), tackling the ‘wicked issues’ in adoption; a welcome and information event (15th, 7pm-830pm) suitable for anyone considering adoption; as well as a legal Q&A with Rhona Pollock, AFA Scotland’s legal advisor (19th, 7pm-8pm).

Robin Duncan, Director of AFA Scotland, said: “In the midst of everything else that has been happening in 2020, Adoption Week is a great reminder that some children continue to need care and protection, and to acknowledge the crucial opportunities that adoption can offer.

“People who have been adopted often speak passionately about the importance of being able to keep relationships with people who are important to them, and we hope that this year’s focus on siblings will help ensure brothers and sisters can live together and keep these links wherever possible.”

Children’s Minister Maree Todd added: “Those of us with brothers and sisters know the importance of those relationships. For children who have experienced change in their lives, maintaining those bonds can be invaluable and, along with Adoption UK Scotland, I encourage prospective adopters to consider sibling groups.”

Adoption Week Scotland 2020 is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by AFA Scotland and Adoption UK Scotland. It is an opportunity to celebrate and promote the best of adoption with awareness-raising, information sessions and social events.

Further details about all of the events during Adoption Week Scotland 2020 can be found here.

*The statistics on siblings separated by adoption came from Freedom of Information requests submitted by the BBC to local authorities across the UK. But the real number could be even higher as only two-thirds of local authorities provided data. The statistics were reported earlier this year on the BBC Radio 4 documentary Separated Siblings.

Relative Matters - Good Practice in Permanence Planning in Kinship Care

AFA Scotland is delighted to be running once again its Postgraduate Relative Matters Course - good practice in Permanence Planning in Kinship Care.

This unique 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 taught online using a virtual platform.

The course has been validated by Strathclyde University at MSc Level 11 and attracts an award of 60 credits (postgraduate certificate) which can be taken forward to further study. Agencies will need to be confident that their nominated student can study at master’s level.  To find out more about the course, cost and scheduled dates, please click here 

 

 

 

ADOPTION WEEK SCOTLAND: 16-20 NOVEMBER 2020

AFA Scotland and Adoption UK Scotland, supported by Scotland’s Adoption Register are co-hosting Adoption Week Scotland which is funded by the Scottish Government. 

Plans are well under way on a range of activities which will take place across Scotland for people interested in adoption and for adoptive families.  As well as providing information about adoption, this year we have some great family fun events organised which include a magician, arts and crafts, gymnastics and science.

We also have podcasts, webinars looking at sibling relationships, therapeutic parenting and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).  We are also delighted to announce that Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People will host a question and answer session. 

Whilst we appreciate that this year will be different with all activities being delivered online, we are delighted to be able to deliver a wide and varied programme celebrating adoption.

We work with partners right across Scotland to celebrate adoption through the week and you will find all the details of our main programme together with a whole host of local agency activities detailed at https://adoption.scot/.

We have put together some ideas on how you can support and advertise Adoption Week - to view this please click here

 

Permanently Progressing? - Phase 2

We are delighted to announce that a team led by the University of Stirling working with Lancaster University and the Adoption and Fostering Alliance (AFA) Scotland have won a £500,000 award from the Nuffield Foundation and a philanthropic donor, to carry out the next stage of ground-breaking work intended to improve the lives of children who become "looked-after" by the care systems.

In the largest UK study of its kind, between 2014 and 2018, the team followed the progress of every single child aged five and under who became looked-after in Scotland in the years 2012/2013 - a total of 1,836 children.  To read more and download our flyer, please click here

Kinship Care Advice Service Scotland (KCASS)

Following a tendering process, the Scottish Government has announced that from 1 September, Scotland’s Kinship Care Advice Service (KCASS) will be run in collaboration by AFA Scotland and Adoption UK Scotland. The KCASS is funded by the Scottish Government with the purpose of delivering the best possible support to kinship carers who play such a critical role in providing secure, stable and nurturing homes for children who cannot be cared for by their birth parents. The new collaboration brings together the skills and experience of the two organisations along with a more formalised link to CPAG (Child Poverty Action Group).

Adoption UK Scotland brings its experience of providing successful support services using a model that involves service users as an integral part of the way the services are managed and delivered. Historically AUK worked almost exclusively with adoptive families, but more recently their services have had a wider focus, including the establishment of Scotland’s successful national FASD Hub.

AFA Scotland brings experience of supporting practitioners and agencies from every part of Scotland and helping to shape and develop policy and practice across all the disciplines involved in working with children and those who care for them.

The services and training provided by AFA Scotland, including its postgraduate Relative Matters course on kinship care, reflect the central importance of kinship care for children unable to live with their own parents and the growing recognition of the need to improve support to the people who care for them. The service will build on the work already undertaken by the KCASS and will work as collaboratively as possible with the well-established kinship groups across the country.

The existing provider, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is working closely with AUK Scotland and AFA Scotland to ensure that the transition happens smoothly for all those currently receiving advice and support, and we would welcome ideas, comments and suggestions from anyone involved to help shape the service as it develops.  A "Frequently Asked Questions" sheet has been prepared and is available on the Kinship. Scot website - here.

RECRUITMENT OF KINSHIP CARE CONSULTANT

As stated above, AFA Scotland’s role will be to provide support and training to practitioners and agencies and support work to develop policy and practice at local and national level and is currently recruiting for a full time Kinship Care Consultant to lead this work.  This recruitment process is now closed.

 

AFA SCOTLAND VACANCY: RESEARCHER

AFA Scotland is seeking to recruit an experienced and talented individual as a Researcher to contribute to our current research projects and to the wider range of services we offer.  This is a part time post (3 days) per week with some flexibility in the role and we are willing to consider a job share.  If you  are interested in applying for this post and would like further information, please click here to download the job summary and purpose.  Please note, the closing date for applications is Wednesday 26 August, 2020.

 

SUFS Briefing for MSPs: Sibling Provisions of Children (Scotland) Bill - 8th June 2020

In response to a request from the Scottish Parliament, the SUFS (Stand Up For Siblings) Group submitted a briefing paper to assist MSPs who are involved in stage 2 consideration of the Children (Scotland) Bill and the provisions relating to the promotion of contact between siblings. The paper, which can be downloaded here sets out clearly the argument in favour of removing the word ‘practicable’ from section 10 of the Bill. Further information about the work of the SUFS group is available on their website at:  SUFS.

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