NEWS UPDATE - FEBRUARY 2020

ADOPTION WEEK SCOTLAND WEEK ROUND-UP

AFA Scotland and Adoption UK Scotland were again responsible for organising Adoption Week Scotland and the programme proved highly successful, generated considerable media coverage and was supported by many local agencies running events in their own areas. 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.

2020/2021 MEMBERSHIP

Renewal letters and an invoice for the new financial year will be sent out at the beginning of April. Our categories include Corporate, individual, legal firm and consortia. Please note, the Board of Trustees has a agreed a 2.5% increase on all membership categories; this is the first increase since the inception of AFA Scotland in 2015. AFA Corporate membership offers you access to a fantastic range of resources through the CoramBAAF website.  To make full use of this, go to: https://corambaaf.org.uk/user/register

NEW FORM F

The work to create a revised and updated version of Form F (adoption and permanence) finally came to fruition with the new PAR-S (Prospective Adopter’s Report – Scotland) being made available to agencies. AFA Scotland has created a training package for agencies and is running a two-alternative workshop (one-day and two-day) to support workers to make best use of the new materials.

The one-day workshop is targeted at workers who are experienced in making assessments using the previous form. It will provide an opportunity to update and refresh thinking about the assessment process, become familiar with the new PAR-S format and consider how it can be adapted if necessary to particular situations.   The two-day workshop is targeted more towards those who are relatively new to undertaking assessments of prospective adoptive parents or permanent carers, and will provide an opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and practice in completing these assessments using the PAR-S template.

Many agencies have asked AFA Scotland to provide ‘in-house’ training for their staff in relation to the use of the new form, so please do get in touch if this is something you and your agency are interested in exploring.

PUBLICATIONS

  • ·The findings of the Independent Care Review will be published in February and AFA Scotland will circulate to members.
  • ·Previously we circulated to all members of AFA Scotland copies of our publication the Adoption Journey. This is available to download on our website: https://afascotland.com/images/documents/The%20Adoption%20Journey.pdf
  • ·The new edition of the Preparing to Adopt training materials specifically rewritten and updated for use in Scotland was published at the end of November. All corporate members were sent complimentary copies of the trainer’s guide and applicant’s workbook by CoramBAAF as part of their membership deal.

LEGAL BRIEFINGS

AFA Scotland has created two new legal briefings which are available to download from the AFA Scotland

Website. https://afascotland.com/learning-zone/legal-briefings

01—advice re implementing a CSO within 21 days

02—payment of fees in surrogacy cases

RELATIVE MATTERS SPECIALISED COURSE

November 2019 saw the completion of the first ever Relative Matters kinship postgraduate level course. We were delighted with how the course went and our cohort of students left with so many ideas about how to improve practice in this complex area. We were fortunate to have students who were open to new ideas, keen to learn and by doing so showed a fantastic commitment to kinship care.   As a result of the success of this course and to meet demand we have scheduled dates for Course Two starting in November 2020. Bookings are now open.

Research update

AFA Scotland continues to be involved in several

research activities. We are currently involved in projects related to the TESSA adoption support service, mid-life outcomes for adopted adults, care for unaccompanied migrant children and further analysis for the Mapping Adoption Support study.

Following the publication of the Permanently Progressing? reports from Phase 1, we are working with Stirling and Lancaster universities to plan for Phase 2, following the same children into middle childhood.

We are also delighted to have established a new Research Forum with researchers representing universities and the third sector, to promote evidence informed practice and increase the scope for research-practice collaborations.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

MEMBER ONLY FORUMS

    • ·Medical Advisers Forum  - 19 February 2020 Edinburgh
    • ·Chairs Development Forum - 09 March 2020 Edinburgh
    • ·Family Placement Forum - 30 March 2020   Edinburgh
    • ·Medical Advisers Forum - 12 May 2020 Edinburgh
    • ·Legal Adoption & Fostering Forum - 27 May 2020 Glasgow

CONSORTIA - MEMBERS ONLY

    • ·WOS Meeting - 12 February, 2020 Glasgow
    • ·WOS Workshop (half-day) - The Charter for Brothers and Sisters: from Theory to Practice - 20 February 2020 Glasgow
    • ·NEC Workshop (half-day) - The Charter for Brothers and Sisters: from Theory to Practice - 5 March 2020 Perth
    • ·Pan Scotland Meeting - 26 March 2020 Stirling
    • ·NEC Meeting - 7 May 2020 Perth
    • ·WOS Workshop (half-day) - Contact and Permanence in the Children’s Hearings - 21 May 2020 Glasgow
    • ·NEC Workshop (half-day) - Contact and Permanence in the Children’s Hearings - 28 May 2020      Perth
    • ·WOS Meeting - 11 June 2020 Glasgow

Workshops are free to consortia members. Space permitting, non-consortia members can book places at a cost of £50.00 + VAT (half-day) and £100.00 + VAT (full-day)

WORKSHOPS

  • ·Making Good Assessments (PAR-S)

                19 February 2020                                     Edinburgh

  • ·Making Good Assessments (PAR-S)

                25 & 26 February 2020                           Glasgow

Following the publication of the new PAR-S template that replaces the form F (Adoption and Permanence), we are running a two-alternative workshop (one-day and two-day) to support workers to make best use of the new materials.

  • ·Introduction to Chairing Fostering Panels

                25 March 2020                         Edinburgh

Chairing adoption and fostering panels require a key set of knowledge, skills and values which are essential to promoting positive outcomes for children. The business of panels is complex, they make recommendations about the adoption and permanence plans for children, approve foster carers and adopters and consider matches.

  • ·Why is it taking so long? - Getting to grips with bottlenecks in the permanence process and how to break through

23 April 2020 Edinburgh

In Scotland, it takes on average over 2 years between a decision for permanence being made and a legal order being granted. This is too long in the life of a child. This workshop will tackle reasons for drift and delay and importantly what we can do to reduce these. Delegates will have a safe and informed forum where they can share views and experiences with other workers by taking part in group work, case scenarios and discussion. Plenary sessions will provide up-to-date factual information on the responsibilities of all of us in promoting our individual role in taking control of these timeframes.

  • ·Professional Report Writing

19 May 2020 Glasgow                        

A vital competence for the practitioner is providing well-written reports which can accelerate the progress of a child’s plan through the Children’s Hearings and Court. The workshop offers interactive worked examples, referring to research, legislative requirements and promising practice. For the worker who is looking to ensure the accuracy, proportionality and relevance of reports, the workshop is a must.

  • ·Assessment of Parenting Capacity

June 2020 - final details to be confirmed

CONFERENCE

  • ·The Child in Permanence - contact and relationships

19 June 2020 Dundee

With decision making about continuing contact remaining one of the most complex and contested areas of practice, the focus for this year’s conference will be on the child’s relationship with their birth family during and after the Permanence process. The conference will bring together an outstanding group of speakers to highlight what research and practice tells us works best for the child and what the legal considerations are, in order to inform and guide practitioners involved in making and applying the decisions in this highly emotive area of permanence and adoption.

Bookings received before 31 March 2020 will receive an early bird discount of 10%.

 SPECIALISED COURSES

  • ·Relative Matters Edinburgh

November 2020 - March 2021

  • ·Securing Children’s Futures Edinburgh

April 2021 - October 2021

If you are interested in attending any of the above events or would like to request a booking form, please contact:  t 0131 322 8490 or e This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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