Evidence Review on Support for Birth Parents

As part of the work AFA Scotland has been doing on the Supporting Roots project, Ariane Critchley has prepared the attached review of the evidence on the support offered to birth parents. This Scottish Government commissioned review is intended for use by practitioners, managers, and service providers who are developing the support available to birth parents in their area or agency. It offers a broad overview of research findings and provides a guide for what to consider, and where you might find out more, in order to offer a service or set of supports that meet the needs of birth parents.

The review is likely to be adapted as the project proceeds, particularly in the light of information provided by the parents involved, but is shared now as a contribution to the continuing development of services. It may be of particular interest to agencies who are considering a bid for the funding the Scottish Government has made available to develop services that support birth parents whose child(ren) have been permanently removed from their care (for information on the funding go to CORRA birth parents grant - closing date for applications 27/1/22).

We are currently recruiting birth family members who may wish to contribute to this programme of work, particularly in relation to their experiences of the Scottish legal processes, and of any support they may have received post-separation. If you are in contact with anyone who may have an interest, please contact Ariane by email at : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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 this course will be delivered virtually using Microsoft Teams.   

The course is at MSc Level 11 and attracts an award of 60 credits (postgraduate certificate) which can be taken forward to further study. The course is validated by Strathclyde University.

The next course will start in May 2022 - further information and dates are available here


STAR (Sibling Reunite) Development Project

Under the leadership of Karen Morrison, STAR - Siblings Reunited’ - has developed into a highly regarded service enabling brothers and sisters who live apart to come together regularly at a rural centre in Fife allowing them to build and maintain their relationships through positive shared experiences. The Promise Partnership Fund is supporting the further development of the service over the next two years. As part of the project AFA Scotland will be undertaking a review of the service to help provide the evidence that will enable the approach to be used more widely across Scotland.

Supporting Children and Families Project - led by Adoption UK Scotland

This 1-year project will work with families of brothers and sisters in permanent (kinship, fostering or adoption) placements supporting the  families to maintain relationships between brothers and sisters when they are living apart, and building capacity and resilience to manage the challenges involved when the children are living together. AFA Scotland’s role in the project will be to work with practitioners to consider how the barriers to the maintenance of sibling relationship can be reduced, and the support to build capacity and resilience in the families increased.


Adoption Week Scotland is now underway; it  offers an opportunity to raise the profile of adoption, encourage discussions about what adopting a child now involves and to highlight the continuing need to find adopters for children who are unable to remain with their families.  

A full programme of events has been scheduled and further details including information on how to sign up for the free events can be found at AWS21

To read the latest press release please click here


WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?  The impact of planning and decision making after the Order is made and when children are no longer looked after

Adoption, Permanence and Kinship Care Orders are just the beginning for children and families moving towards the hope of a settled life. We know that ongoing support and advice from professionals is vital in sustaining these relationships.  To promote effectiveness of decisions and planning for children and families we will look at what happens next on the child’s journey in permanence under kinship care or permanence orders or adoption and thereafter, moving into adulthood.

This year’s legal conference will focus on the impact of the decisions made on the child and family where the child moves into permanence or ceases to be a looked after child. This will support practitioners in future proofing plans in light of the experience and knowledge that our Speakers will share.  We are delighted to announce the Janys Scott, QC will Chair the event with the following speakers:

  • Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle, Sheriff Principal for Grampian, Highlands and Islands
  • Claire Anne McFadden, Partner, JK Cameron Solicitors
  • Dr Ariane Critchley, Researcher & Lecturer, Stirling University
  • Pamela Graham, Head of Learning & Development (Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum (Staf)
  • Lara Wierzoch, Birthlink

If you are interested in attending this conference and would like a booking form, please download now.



The Scottish Government launched a consultation on proposals for the creation of a National Care Service; the proposed reforms around social care represent one of the most significant pieces of public service reform to be proposed by the Scottish Government, and have the potential to be the biggest public sector reform in Scotland for decades.  The Independent Review of Adult Social Care concluded that current structures have not fully delivered the improvements intended to be achieved by integration of health and social care and recommended the creation of a National Care Service.  The Scottish Government have proposed that this incorporates both adult’s and children’s social work and social care services.

AFA Scotland sought the views of its members and has submitted a response to the consultation proposals which can be viewed here.


We are delighted to share the news that Scotland's Adoption Register (SAR) has officially launched its first recruitment video which can be viewed here:   https://scotlandsadoptionregister.org.uk/ 

This video is aimed at encouraging adults to come forward to adopt those children who wait longest in Scotland; over the age of four years, sibling groups, children with additional needs/disabilities and children of BME heritage. 

Should you wish to have a copy of the video to feature on your own websites please get in touch with us and we will arrange to share it with you.  It has also been shared on Facebook and Twitter. If you follow SAR on these platforms please like and share to spread the message far and wide.



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