FACE19: Families' and Children's Experiences of COVID-19

AFA Scotland is a third sector partner with the University of Stirling on their new research project FACE19: Families’ and Children’s Experiences of COVID-19. The research is exploring the psychosocial and wellbeing implications of the Covid-19 pandemic and social isolation practices for children, young people and families, and for the workers who support them. The study is funded by the Chief Scientist’s Office and has been granted ethical approval by the university. The aim is 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. 

The first step is a survey for parents and carers; we would like to hear from any parents or carers of children or young people aged 18 or under, about their experience of the pandemic, its impact on them and their family, and what might help and support them. It is vital that kinship carers’, foster carers’ and adoptive parents’ voices be heard about their experience of the pandemic and what support they feel they need. To download a copy of the flyer, please click here. If you are interested in completing an online questionnaire, which is anonymised, please use the link:  tinyurl.com/y89c222t  . The survey takes around 20 minutes to complete.

This second survey is for keyworkers working with children and their families. We are acutely aware what an exceptionally busy time this is, but if you can spare the time, (it takes around 20 minutes) your involvement will help inform a study which promises to provide important information about the impact and learning from the crisis.  This survey can be completed here: https://tinyurl.com/ycdaf6ua   There is no limit on the number of responses from a single agency or area – the research team are keen to hear from as many people as possible.  To download a copy of the flyer, please click here

For the final strand of the study, the research team are also keen to hear from workers and carers who might be willing to participate in a (virtual) interview to explore some of their experiences in more depth. If you, or someone you know, would be interested in further information, please contact Judy Warburton (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

For further information about the study, please see the study website: http://face19.stir.ac.uk/2020/05/06/hello-world/.  

MOVING IMAGES PUBLICATION

UPDATED GUIDANCE AVAILABLE (MAY 2020)

USING VIDEO CLIPS IN FINDING ADOPTIVE FAMILIES FOR CHILDREN:  A PRACTICE GUIDE

In 2018 we launch a new good practice guide which was the culmination of 18 months' work by the project group which has been investigating the use of video clips in family finding.  We now have updated guidance (May 2020) to accompany the section on editing videos (appendix 1) which is available to view here

The guidance is designed to help social workers and foster carers who are most likely to make the videos, but also to address the concerns of others within organisations who have questions about the technical and legal issues involved.  Hard copies of the guide have been circulated to all agencies.  A PDF version can be downloaded here.

As this is a subject where practice and technology will continue to develop, we will adapt the guidance to reflect changes in the future.  If you have any feedback or suggestions for additions/amendments, please get in touch with Maggie - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

NEW HOST FOR SCOTLAND'S ADOPTION REGISTER

Following a tendering process, the Scottish Government has just announced that Scotland’s Adoption Register will be hosted by AFA Scotland from 1 April 2020. 

Scotland’s Adoption Register was established in 2011 and from then until 2015 was hosted by BAAF Scotland. When BAAF Scotland unexpectedly entered into administration in July 2015, the Scottish Government sought alternative arrangements and were fortunate that St Andrew’s Children’s Society agreed to take on this role at very short notice. The support from St Andrew’s since then has been widely appreciated – as noted in the recently published independent review of the Register, ‘It is well regarded for the way in which it has fulfilled its role and thought to have done so with integrity. It is considered to have been highly principled in its custodianship and financial management of the service. It is also viewed positively as having enabled positive change and development within the Register’s services.’

St Andrew’s Children’s Society and AFA Scotland will work closely to ensure the transition proceeds smoothly and that there is no disruption to the service from 1 April. More information will be circulated in due course if there are changes to any of the contact details.

An advert for the new Manager/ Practitioner post for the Register has been placed on MyJobScotland and AFA Scotland's website, so please do pass this information on to anyone you think may be interested in this opportunity.  For further details and an application form,  please click on the following links:

Application form

Essential Information

Job/Person Specification

If you have any questions about the transition process and future arrangements please contact me by email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 0131 322 8490, or Stephen Small at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SUPPORT SESSIONS FOR PRACTITIONERS

PLEASE NOTE, ALL THESE SESSIONS ARE NOW FULLY BOOKED

Despite the enormous pressure on agencies to create contingency plans for vulnerable children, some practitioners have found that home working requirements are giving them space to undertake work that is hard to prioritise under normal circumstances. From discussions at our forums about what would help people progress core aspects of their work while the restrictions remain in place, AFA Scotland has scheduled a series of 1½ hour sessions on a range of issues (see below for topics and dates).

Please note, there will be a maximum number of 20 delegates at each of these sessions and places will be allocated on a first come basis. We will be using the GoToMeeting platform. If you are interested in attending any of the sessions, please put your request in writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you are successful in securing a place, a confirmation email will be sent to you and prior to the event, a link to join the meeting. Should these sessions be oversubscribed, we will hold a reserved list and if possible, run the events at another time.

Progressing permanence plans and reports for children during lockdown

Aimed at children and families’ workers and other social workers involved in compiling permanence reports such as the Form E and CAPR. During this period we are aware that reports are awaiting completion and that some guidance may be helpful to enable workers to highlight issues that are proving to be difficult to address in reports or where there are different opinions about the most appropriate permanence route.

Wednesday 13th May, 11.00am – 12.30pm              Facilitators: Ravinder Kaur & Rhona Pollock  

Progressing the assessment of prospective kinship, foster, and adoptive parents during lockdown

Despite the restrictions, the need for placements with prospective adoptive, foster and kinship carers is undiminished, and it is important that assessment work continues to the extent to which this is possible. This session is for practitioners currently undertaking assessments or planning to do so and will focus on ways of gathering and presenting the necessary information in the current circumstances.

Friday 15th May, 11.00am – 12.30pm                       Facilitators: Jane Steele & Helen Runciman

Planning for or managing transitions from foster care to permanent placements during lockdown

Placing children with permanent carers is a key intervention in ensuring the safety, welfare and future of the child, but the risks associated with making such placements must be identified and explicitly addressed, and be compliant with the Government’s public health announcements in relation to Covid-19. This session is for practitioners currently involved in, or considering, progressing transitions for children and will consider situations where this may be appropriate and how it can be achieved.

Tuesday 19th May, 11.00am – 12.30pm                   Facilitators: Rhona Pollock & Jane Steele

Navigating Children’s Hearings and Courts during lockdown

Despite normal court and children’s hearing procedures being halted or severely disrupted as a result of the restrictions, it remains critical for children that plans are progressed to the extent that this is possible. This session will focus on discussion about the action that can be taken and the evolving practice in the courts and hearings.

Thursday 21st May, 11.00am – 12.30pm                 Facilitator: Rhona Pollock

Maintaining contact between children and their families during lockdown

Most direct contact between children and their families has been halted, reflecting agencies primary responsibility to ensure that their child is kept safe and that the Government’s Covid-19 requirements are complied with. However, maintaining relationships between children and family members and others who are important to them, is as important as ever. This session will consider what action can be taken to maintain relationships in the current context.

Wednesday 27 May, 11.00am – 12.30pm                Facilitators: Jane Steele & Robin Duncan

ADOPTION WEEK SCOTLAND 2019 ROUNDUP

AFA Scotland and Adoption UK Scotland were again responsible for organising Adoption Week Scotland running from Monday 18th to Saturday 22nd November. The programme for the week proved highly successful, generated considerable media coverage and was supported by many local agencies running events in their own areas. Despite the distraction of a looming election we were delighted to have strong support from the Scottish Government with both Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People, and John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, speaking at events. Their attendance gave a really positive message about the Scottish Government’s continuing recognition of the importance of adoption and helped ensure a high level of interest throughout the week.

The theme of ‘adoption stories’ was centred on an event at the Scottish Poetry Centre, where adopted young people who had taken part in writing workshops to create their own short stories and a group poem on the theme of 'Home', presented a film about their work and had the chance to speak to John Swinney about their experiences. The stories theme was also reflected in the exceptionally well supported practitioner event that focussed on adoption support. The importance of hearing the stories of all those involved when thinking about adoption support - children, adoptive parents, birth parents, and other family members – was reflected in presentations of research and practice, including an input from Richard Rose on working therapeutically with children around their own stories.

It was particularly encouraging to see the amount of activity organised by other agencies to coincide with the week’s main events.

AFA Scotland and Adoption UK are hoping to be running Adoption Week Scotland again next year, so while memories of this year’s programme are still fresh in the mind please do get in touch to share your ideas about how we can ensure the week has the maximum impact right across the country.

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