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

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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/.  

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

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