Innovation Award Winner – Institute for Collaborative Working

St. David’s Children Society are delighted to announce that yesterday we were awarded the Innovation Award at the Institute for Collaborative Working for our new project, Adopting Together.

In collaboration with Barnardo’s, Adoption UK, Cardiff University, the 22 Local Authorities in Wales and supported by National Adoption Service, Adopting Together has emerged from a common and clearly defined purpose: securing permanence for children who have waited for a significant length of time for a family. These children in Wales are traditionally but not exclusively children over 4, BME children, part of a sibling group or have additional complex needs or uncertainty regarding their development.

Congratulations to everyone involved for all their hard work over the last 12 months to get this project off the ground and successfully placing children with their forever families.

https://www.instituteforcollaborativeworking.com/

Innovation Award Winner – Institute for Collaborative Working

Awards News – Adopting Together

Adopting Together wins Highly Commended Go Wales Award for Social and Community Benefit

Adopting Together, St David’s collaborative project working with Barnardo’s, Adoption UK and the National Adoption Service, has been awarded Highly Commended 1 in the Category of Social and Community Benefit in procurement at the Go Wales 2018/19 Awards. St David’s and its partners were one of six Wales based projects to be shortlisted. The project was able to highlight how social and community benefits have been embedded at the heart of the procurement process, with a focus on outcomes for children and adopters at the centre of the projects development.

Adopting Together has also been shortlisted alongside 3 UK wide projects for an award from the Institute for Collaborative Working in the category of ‘Innovation’.  The entry evidenced how the project has used a structured approach in collaboration and how it is ground breaking in its approach to supporting children and adopters as a part of a collaboration between third and statutory sectors. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony held on the 13th December at the House of Lords.

Awards News - Adopting Together

Autumn Newsletter 2018

It is that time of year again! Here is our Autumn Newsletter for 2018.  Click on the below link to keep up to date with all that has been going on at St. David’s Children Society.  We cover retirements, new starters, AFA Cymru, Adopting Together and even a staff member going to the Bowling World Championships in Las Vegas!

Final Newsletter 2018

New Vacancies

St. David’s Children Society and AFA Cymru are pleased to currently have a number of vacancies available on our website.  Please take a look at the jobs section of our website for further details:

https://www.adoptionwales.org/en/page/jobs

Currently we are looking to fill the following positions:

Deputy Director

Administrator – St. David’s

Senior Regional Administrator – AFA Cymru

Independent Social Workers

Chris and Ben

“Don’t write off a child because of their age, it’s not their fault they’re growing older in the system” – future adopters from Llanelli support campaign to reduce numbers of children in care

A Llanelli couple in the process of adopting siblings is getting behind a new campaign to reduce the number of Welsh children in foster care who wait 12 months or more to find a permanent home.

Ben and husband Chris aged 35 and 37, are supporting Adopting Together, a new project supported by the National Adoption Service and led by St David’s Children’s Society aimed at placing children who have waited over 12 months for an adoptive family.

These children can be aged four and over, are part of sibling groups, have uncertain or additional needs, or are from a BME background

Bringing together best practice components under one, distinct model, it’s the first project of its kind to involve a specific collaboration between local authority regional adoption agencies, voluntary adoption agencies, Cardiff University, therapeutic partners and other key professionals such as medical advisors and schools.

The approach centres on an innovative model of psychological and therapeutic support for adoptive parents, both pre and post-placement*. This specific model is in addition to the established and ongoing programme of support offered to anyone who adopts through St David’s, which has been successfully placing children since 1942.

The project is also aiming to normalise access to post-adoption support, and break down barriers which might prevent people from adopting children who continue to wait for a family.

Ben and Chris, who live in Llanelli, are two of the first prospective adopters to benefit from the Adopting Together project. They are currently going through the adoption process and hope to welcome a brother and sister sibling group in the coming months.

The couple decided to explore adoption as a route to starting a family, initially thinking they would be best suited to having one or two boys, aged around two-years-old. However, a training course offered by St David’s opened their eyes to the benefits of adopting older children, so the couple widened the search to a mixed, older sibling group.

Ben explained: “The course enabled us to have more of an open mind with what we thought we were looking for, and we quickly realised there was no point overlooking children just because they didn’t fit our initial perceptions of the ‘ideal’ age. With older children, you have a much clearer picture of how they are developing than you might have with a baby.

“Our social worker from St David’s got to work straight away to find us an appropriate match, and we completely trusted them to find us children with similar interests and hobbies to us.

“The actual process itself hasn’t taken long at all – around one year by the time we’ve actually adopted if everything goes to plan.”

Ben added that the most beneficial part of the Adopting Together project so far has been the Team for the Child meeting, an intrinsic part of the new model, which brings together everyone involved in the child’s care, including psychologists, existing foster cares and social workers, to provide first-hand, real-time insights into the child/children.

He explained: “The meeting was an absolute eye-opener. Having that many people in one room together, each of whom knows the children in a different capacity, discussing their needs, was a unique opportunity.

“The meeting gave us first-hand insights into the children, using relevant and up-to-date information. We were able to question information on the children that was written in earlier reports – for example past behaviours or tendencies – and ask whether this information still stands, or whether changes have taken place since those comments were written.

“Having a foster carer in the room who currently lives with the children is a huge benefit, as they can corroborate or update information that’s no longer relevant, and offer day-to-day insights on the child’s behaviours, likes and dislikes. Similarly, having a psychologist there to offer professional insights is hugely important.

“Everyone in the room has the best interest of the child in mind, and each person can offer a different slant. Rather than just reading a bland written report, you have a clear and evidenced understanding of what to expect, and what parenting strategies you might need to consider. This means you enter the process with open eyes, based on accurate and wide-ranging information.”

Following the Team for the Child meeting, Ben and Chris now have to be approved at a matching panel, after which introductions and transition work with the children will take place.

Ben added: “We just can’t wait now. We feel so ready for the next stage, we’re excited about everything from teatimes, to family activities, trips to the beach, and introducing the children to our wider family. Everyone’s looking forward to meeting them.

“If I had one message for a prospective adopter, it would be to cast aside any preconceptions about age; instead focus on finding the right match. You shouldn’t write off any child because of their age, it’s not their fault they’re growing older in the system. We have been fantastically supported through this project and are delighted it’s being rolled out as a new initiative.”

Adopting Together will offer other families like Ben and Chris a structured, comprehensive suite of support at every stage of the adoption journey, including:

-Child-centred recruitment strategies
-Collaborative ‘Team for the Child’ meetings at the outset bringing together involved in the child’s care, including psychologists, existing foster cares and social workers, to provide first-hand insights
-A trained buddy who is also an adoptive parent and understands the joys and challenges of parenting children with specific needs
-Specifically designed transition sessions, including Theraplay, to ensure smooth transitions and introductions to an adoptive family
-Structured pre and post-placement consultation support, where issues and therapeutic interventions can be discussed

Adopting Together and National Adoption Week 2018

15th October sees the start of National Adoption Week. This year, the focus in Wales is on our new, exciting and innovative project, ‘Adopting Together’.

‘Adopting Together’ is here to try and find families for the children in Wales who have been waiting the longest for a forever family.

Through ‘Adopting Together’, we are looking for people who want to create their families with the children who wait the longest in mind. Most often, these are children aged four and over, brothers and sisters, children with additional needs – such as behaviours that are a result of their early trauma – and children with medical needs or medical uncertainty.

You will need to be understanding, loving, playful and kind. You will need to have space in your lives, as well as people around you, to share the joys and challenges. We will walk alongside you to help you understand what your child will need, and we will make sure you have the right support at the right time.

Adopting Together is a new project offering a specific model of assessment, training, and ongoing support which will enable and empower you to meet the needs of your children while creating your family.

Vacancy – CEO

Vacancy

Chief Executive Officer

Due to the pending retirement of the long serving CEO of St David’s Children Society, an exciting opportunity has arisen to lead this vibrant, forward thinking Voluntary Adoption Agency into the next stage of its development.

St David’s has a national reputation for excellence. It is a highly respected, stable and successful adoption provider that hosts AFA Cymru, the successor in Wales to BAAF Cymru. The Society is proud to be a significant partner in the National Adoption Service of Wales.

We seek an experienced, committed and creative new lead officer who will bring energy, skill and deep knowledge of the contemporary challenges in adoption, permanency and family placement to the Society. The successful candidate will be able to evidence the professional, technical and managerial essentials alongside an unshakeable determination to secure the best for children needing new families. Candidates will need to demonstrate strong strategic skills, a profound commitment to children’s rights, with a minimum of five years’ experience as a leader in a social care setting.

Please see the jobs section of our website for all the details:

https://www.adoptionwales.org/jobs