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An exciting opportunity has arisen for a graduate or experienced professional to work with Cardiff University (School of Psychology and Cardiff Business School) St.David’s Children  Society and their partner agencies which make up the National Adoption Service. The post can be found in the Academic section  of the link below .

Hello to you all and a very warm welcome to our 2016 Newsletter. This is my first year as editor, having taken the reins from the eminently talented Joan, so please be kind!

When I look back at previous newsletters, there are many stories of change, new beginnings and exciting developments, changes of direction and retirement – and I take comfort from this as I reflect on this last year at St David’s.

The changing landscape of adoption across the UK over recent times meant that St David’s, alongside many agencies throughout Wales and the UK, saw a marked decrease in the number of children available for adoption and an increase in the number of approved adopters….

Please click here to read the newsletter in full

St. David’s Children Society tribute to Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick OBE, an adoptive parent, the Chair of our Trustee Board and a formidable human rights champion.

A tribute to Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick OBE

Sadly, Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick OBE, died on the 14th January 2016. His death was peaceful with his wife and children by his side. We offer our deepest condolences to Fabienne, his three wonderful children and all his family.

For these past 17 years Kevin chaired the trustees of St. David’s Children Society. He was an inspirational and visionary leader whose experience as an adoption parent helped redefine and redirect our adoption service. Under his governance, St. David’s matured into an adoption provider of the highest quality. His knowledge of the impact of neglect and trauma on children was immense. His personal experience, a rich resource, freely and softly shared.

Kevin was deeply human. In recent years, he travelled from the South of France to attend our trustee meetings. The logistical challenge for a wheelchair user in managing countless taxies, trains and planes is indescribable. It was not that he never missed a meeting. It was that he gave this time so freely and notwithstanding the pain spasms, there was always a smile and supportive word.  – The same courage and determination was evident in so many facets of his life.

Kevin was a writer, researcher and a formidable human rights champion. He was a remarkable individual driven by conviction and commitment. A persuasive leader whose clarity of purpose helped others identify intelligent, simple solutions to everyday challenges. Deputy Minister Gwenda Thomas A.M. appointed Kevin as the chair of Welsh Government’s Expert Adoption Advisory Group which laid the foundation for the National Adoption Service for Wales.

His integrity, his legacy will live on not just in St. David’s, but in so many other organisation including Not Dead Yet, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Europe, Hope Ireland, Disability Wales, The Welsh Ambulance Trust, as Disability Rights Commissioner and in the lives of the many countless individuals he touched.

For these past 27 years, Kevin has been my closest friend. We spent so much time laughing together, philosophising and putting the world right in our imaginary minds. In my moments of self-doubt his gentle, persuasive assurance always edified. My world is a smaller place without Kevin. I will truly miss him.

Gerry Cooney

Chief executive.

St. David’s Children Society.

WOW…..what a year, so many changes, new faces and people to welcome and some sad farewells to say!

Newsletter 2015


Let’s start with the positives: A warm welcome to Dan, our very able social work assistant whom many of you will have met through training and support groups. Dan was joined by Anda, Catrin, Rebecca and Charlotte as assessing social workers and Anna in a  management role who brings order and clarity to the team.  Collectively, they bring too many years of experience to mention, but are key to massively strengthening the team. Sadly, we have said farewell to Charlotte as her commute was just too long!

Good day to Wendy too, in her new role as our Senior Operational Manager, a huge loss for the former BAAF but
a massive gain for us, and welcome to Jenny based in North Wales who has nurtured families through their adoption assessments and is bringing with her a new set of skills for St. David’s to develop….

Please click here to read the newsletter in full

A Welsh couple are encouraging would-be adopters to take in older children as part of a new national campaign.

Becky and Tim adopted a five-year-old boy several years ago after raising two of their own children and described the experience as “hugely rewarding”.

They are backing the Too Old at 4? campaign to mark National Adoption Week (19-25 October), which is encouraging people to consider adopting children aged four and over.

Older children waiting to be adopted are often likely to be in sibling groups or to have additional needs, and there is currently a shortage of adoptive parents willing to take these children.

New figures released today by the National Adoption Service for Wales reveal it takes more than double the amount of time to place children aged four and above than those aged under four.

The figures show that since June 2014 the average length of time it takes to place children aged four and older in Wales is 15 months, while the average time it takes to place those aged under four is seven months.

Becky and Tim decided to adopt an older child after a conversation with a relative who works for social services about how difficult it is to find homes for older children.

Becky, 39, said: “We were lucky enough to raise our two children from birth. We wanted to give a child who needed a family what our children had. “I think people assume if you adopt a baby or toddler it’s going to be easier to bond or they will come with less problems. An older child might have had a traumatic background but you shouldn’t assume it is going to be harder or have a less positive outcome for the child because that’s not always the case; it wasn’t in our experience. An older child has more of a sense of who they are. As long as you are open and help them talk through their issues it can be a positive experience. For us it has been a joy. Knowing that we have been able to provide a child with that permanency is hugely rewarding.”

Her husband Tim, who runs the family farm, said: “We found the whole process manageable; it was exhausting at times but we never felt completely overwhelmed. Our son now has security, consistency and comfort in his family, something he never had before.”

Launched in November 2014, the National Adoption Service aims to improve services for all those affected by adoption and speed up the adoption process in Wales.

The service is being led and delivered by local government, working closely with voluntary sector partners and is a key part of the Welsh Government’s plans for transforming the way social services are delivered in Wales.

Figures published in July revealed that in 2014/15, it took on average 16.5 months to place a child for adoption in Wales, down from 26 months the previous year.

Suzanne Griffiths, director of operations for the National Adoption Service, said
“We know that the average wait for children to be adopted in Wales has fallen, but it still takes longer to place older children. Most of the adopters who come in to the system want to adopt the youngest, least complex children they can. We fully understand that, but there are older children coming through the care system who need adopting, and we believe that these deserve as much of a chance at a happy family life.”

Ms Griffiths said there are a number of misconceptions about adopting older children:
“When we say older children what we usually mean is children between 4 and 7 year of age, rarely teenagers. So these are still very young children who need lots of nurturing and hands on parenting.  Many parents might also want those ‘firsts’ with a new child, such as first word or first tooth, and fear they won’t get that with an older child. You do get get firsts – first day at school, first rugby match, first party dress – they just start from a different point. Like Becky says we know people may worry the bonding between them and the child which is natural but even children who have had difficult experiences are resilient and respond to caring, nurturing parenting. There is advice and support available should parents need this.”

Welsh Government Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“I’m pleased to see the National Adoption Service having a positive impact on the adoption process in Wales, reducing the time it takes for families to adopt a child. I’m also pleased to support the Too old at 4? campaign. Every child growing up in Wales deserves the change to grow up as part of a loving family. Adopting a child is a very demanding, but rewarding experience. I want to encourage prospective adopters to come forward, speak to the experts and help play a part in giving some of our most vulnerable children the very best start in life.”

For more information contact the National Adoption Service for Wales.National Adoption Service Logo
E-mail: / E-bost:


Or visit the website:

St David’s Children Society specialises in finding forever families for children over 4 and brothers and sisters, and offer lifelong support to these families when they need us. This year, we have successfully placed many children, almost half of them were 4 or over and over 50% were brothers and sisters. We are delighted to report that they are all thriving in their new families.

These are some of the things the children have said:

7 year old, Maisie said to her new Mum: “I’ve never been swimming before.”
5 years old Thomas, when he saw the daffodils coming up for the 2nd time, said “I’m staying here now aren’t I Daddy?
4 year old Jo asked anxiously, “I’ve never been to school before. Will it be scary?”

Many children at 4 still have lots of “firsts” to experience, and this is especially true for children waiting for adoption. Could you help them with these new, exciting and sometimes scary moments? Could you be their new family? And remember, “Two’s company; three’s even better”. Brothers and sisters need families like you!

We’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch on 02920 667007 / 01432 278188


Mae Cymdeithas Plant Dewi Sant yn arbenigo mewn dod o hyd i deuluoedd am byth i blant dros 4 a brodyr a chwiorydd, ac yn cynnig cymorth gydol oes i’r teuluoedd hyn pan fyddant ei angen. Eleni, rydym wedi lleoli llawer o blant yn llwyddiannus, bron i hanner ohonynt yn 4 neu fwy a thros 50% yn frodyr a chwiorydd. Rydym yn falch iawn o adrodd eu bod i gyd yn ffynnu yn eu teuluoedd newydd.

Dyma be ddywedodd rhai o’r plant:
Maisie sydd yn 7 oed wrth ei mham: “Dwi erioed wedi bod yn nofio o’r blaen”
Pan welodd Thomas sydd yn 5 oed y cennin pedr yn dod am yr 2il waith: “Dwi’n aros yma rwan yntydw Dad?”
Gofynnodd Jo sydd yn 4 oed, yn bryderus: “Dwi erioed wedi bod yn yr ysgol. Fydd gen ai ofn?”

Mae llawer o blant sydd yn bedair oed yn dal i gael profiadau newydd ac yn eu gwneud am y tro “cyntaf”, ond mae hyn yn arbennig o wir am blant sydd yn aros i gael eu mabwysiadu. Allwch chi helpu gyda’r profiadau newydd, cyffrous ac weithiau pryderus hyn? Allwch chi fod eu teulu newydd? A cofiwch, “Mae dau yn gwmni, mae tri hyd yn oed yn well”. Mae brodyr a chwiorydd angen teuluoedd fel y chi!

Byddem yn falch o glywed ganddoch. Cysylltwch a ni ar 02920 667007

The Welsh Government has put in place plans to strengthen adoption and fostering services in Wales following the closure of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) Cymru, it was announced today (Weds 9th Sept).

From today, the National Adoption Service will run the Wales Adoption Register. Relevant BAAF Cymru staff will transfer to the National Adoption Service.

Training, consultancy, legal advice and an advice line for the public and professionals will be run by a new body set up by the St David’s Children Society, to be known as the Association for Fostering and Adoption Cymru @ St David’s. The new body will provide training and other services tailored to Wales. The service will recruit from former BAAF Cymru staff.

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“These arrangements will strengthen and secure the future of the adoption and fostering services which BAAF Cymru provided, as well as securing jobs for staff employed by BAAF Cymru.

“As soon as we became aware of BAAF’s plans to close, we negotiated with its administrators to ensure services remained stable for an extra six weeks to support vulnerable children and assist people seeking to foster and adopt.

“During this six-week period we have promoted a robust new structure that builds on BAAF Cymru’s expertise across a range of services and activities. BAAF Cymru staff have continued to provide these services until the day of closure so there has been no interruption in services.

“The National Adoption Service shares our goal to develop and improve the Wales Adoption Register. I see these new arrangements as a step towards making the register even more effective and easier to use.

“I am confident that they will lead to improved services and I want to thank all the staff and organisations involved for working with us. Together we have put arrangements in place to help support the most vulnerable children and young people in Wales. I hope to be able to make an announcement about the future of the independent review mechanism very soon.”

Suzanne Griffiths, director of operations for the National Adoption Register, said:

“I am pleased to have been able to work with the Welsh Government and colleagues in BAAF Cymru to ensure the register can continue to operate. Ensuring this will mean children who need to be adopted are unaffected as well as providing a further opportunity to strengthen and develop the role the register plays in adoption services in Wales.

”The Wales Adoption Register is just one of the ways adoption services use to match children to adopters. The National Adoption Service would like to assure adopters and professionals who use the Wales Adoption Register that there will be no disruption to the service they receive.”

Gerry Cooney, chief executive of St David’s Children Society, said:

“It is our absolute priority to continue services which will support the future of adoption services in Wales as well as other permanent arrangements. The integration of core elements of the BAAF legacy will ensure the continuation of vital services, including an information helpline, training and consultancy.

“These services will offer independent information, support and expertise for professionals and members of the public that will assist and improve the lives of children and young people separated from their birth families.

“The continuation of services has only been possible due to the superb support from the Welsh Government. We will now work together to harness the highly-skilled expertise of both organisations to achieve our vision of placing children in their forever homes and in offering support where needed to all those affected by adoption and other care arrangements.”

For more information please call the Welsh Government press office on 029 2089 8012


  • The new service from the Association for Fostering and Adoption Cymru @ St David’s will offer a knowledge hub offering learning resources that will promote and reflect best practice. The new service will support the development of Welsh-specific resources and publications to support good practice in Wales.
  • In addition, practice forums, groups working with children including health and legal advisors, and information exchanges will be available for professionals and people living with children.
  • The only change people who use the National Adoption Register will experience is a different telephone number and email contact. These are being publicised on the website, by partner agencies and letters have been sent to adopters and professionals.

To contact the National Adoption Service for Wales

For more Welsh Government news visit:

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Heddiw (dydd Mercher 9 Medi), cyhoeddwyd bod Llywodraeth Cymru wedi gwneud cynlluniau i gryfhau gwasanaethau mabwysiadu a maethu yng Nghymru yn dilyn cau Cymdeithas Mabwysiadu a Maethu Prydain (BAAF).

O heddiw, bydd y Gwasanaeth Mabwysiadu Cenedlaethol yn gyfrifol am gadw Cofrestr Fabwysiadu Cymru. Bydd staff perthnasol BAAF Cymru yn trosglwyddo i’r Gwasanaeth Mabwysiadu Cenedlaethol.

Bydd cyfrifoldeb am hyfforddiant, ymgynghori, cyngor cyfreithiol a llinell gymorth i’r cyhoedd a gweithwyr proffesiynol yn cael ei roi i gorff newydd i’w sefydlu gan Gymdeithas Plant Dewi Sant, o dan yr enw Cymdeithas Maethu a Mabwysiadu Cymru @ Dewi Sant. Bydd y corff newydd yn cynnig hyfforddiant a gwasanaethau eraill a fydd yn benodol i Gymru. Bydd y gwasanaeth yn recriwtio o blith cyn staff BAAF Cymru.

Dywedodd y Gweinidog Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol, Mark Drakeford:

“Bydd y trefniadau hyn yn cryfhau ac yn sicrhau dyfodol y gwasanaethau mabwysiadu a maethu yr oedd BAAF Cymru yn eu darparu, yn ogystal â sicrhau swyddi i staff oedd yn cael eu cyflogi gan BAAF Cymru.

“Cyn gynted ag i ni wybod am gynlluniau BAAF i gau, cawsom drafodaethau gyda’r gweinyddwyr i sicrhau bod y gwasanaethau’n parhau’n sefydlog am chwe wythnos arall i helpu plant a chynorthwyo pobl sydd eisiau maethu a mabwysiadu.

“Yn ystod y cyfnod hwn o chwe wythnos, rydym wedi hyrwyddo strwythur cadarn newydd sy’n adeiladu ar arbenigedd BAAF Cymru ar draws ystod o wasanaethau a gweithgareddau. Mae staff BAAF Cymru wedi parhau i ddarparu’r gwasanaethau hyn nes y dyddiad cau, felly doedd dim tarfu ar wasanaethau.

“Mae’r Gwasanaeth Mabwysiadu Cenedlaethol yn rhannu ein nod o ddatblygu a gwella Cofrestr Fabwysiadu Cymru. Rwy’n credu bod y trefniadau newydd hyn yn gam tuag at wneud y gofrestr yn fwy effeithiol fyth ac yn haws ei defnyddio.

“Rwy’n hyderus y byddant yn arwain at wella gwasanaethau a hoffwn ddiolch i’r holl staff a sefydliadau cysylltiedig am weithio gyda ni. Gyda’n gilydd, rydym wedi gosod trefniadau i gefnogi’r plant a’r bobl ifanc yn y sefyllfaoedd mwyaf bregus yng Nghymru. Rwy’n gobeithio y byddaf yn gallu gwneud cyhoeddiad yn fuan iawn ynglŷn â dyfodol y drefn adolygu annibynnol.”

Dywedodd Suzanne Griffiths, cyfarwyddwr gweithrediadau’r Gofrestr Fabwysiadu Genedlaethol:

“Rwy’n falch o fod wedi gallu gweithio gyda Llywodraeth Cymru a chyfeillion yn BAAF Cymru i sicrhau bod modd i’r gofrestr barhau i weithredu. Roed hyn yn sicrhau bod dim effaith ar blant sydd angen eu mabwysiadu ac yn cynnig cyfle pellach i gryfhau a datblygu’r rôl y mae’r gofrestr yn ei chwarae mewn gwasanaethau mabwysiadu yng Nghymru.

”Cofrestr Fabwysiadu Cymru yw un o’r amryw ffyrdd i wasanaethau mabwysiadu allu paru plant a mabwysiadwyr. Hoffai’r Gwasanaeth Mabwysiadu Cenedlaethol sicrhau mabwysiadwyr a gweithwyr proffesiynol sy’n defnyddio Cofrestr Fabwysiadu Cymru na fydd unrhyw darfu ar y gwasanaeth y maent yn ei dderbyn.”

Dywedodd Gerry Cooney, prif weithredwr Cymdeithas Plant Dewi Sant:

“Ein blaenoriaeth bennaf yw parhau â gwasanaethau a fydd yn cefnogi gwasanaethau mabwysiadu yng Nghymru at y dyfodol, yn ogystal â threfniadau parhaol eraill. Bydd integreiddio elfennau craidd BAAF yn sicrhau y gall gwasanaethau hanfodol barhau, gan gynnwys llinell wybodaeth, hyfforddiant ac ymgynghori.

“Bydd y gwasanaethau hyn yn cynnig gwybodaeth annibynnol, cymorth ac arbenigedd i weithwyr proffesiynol ac aelodau o’r cyhoedd er mwyn helpu i wella bywydau plant a phobl ifanc sydd wedi’u gwahanu oddi wrth eu teuluoedd naturiol.

“Mae gwasanaethau wedi parhau dim ond drwy gefnogaeth wych gan Lywodraeth Cymru. Nawr, byddwn ni’n cydweithio i fanteisio ar arbenigedd hynod fedrus y ddau sefydliad er mwyn gwireddu ein gweledigaeth o roi plant yn eu cartrefi oes a chynnig cymorth lle mae ei angen i bawb sy’n mynd drwy fabwysiadu a threfniadau gofal eraill.”

I gael rhagor o wybodaeth, ffoniwch swyddfa’r wasg Llywodraeth Cymru ar 029 2089 8012

Leon Griffiths

Senior Press Officer / Uwch Swyddog y Wasg

Minister for Health & Social Services / Y Gweinidog dros Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol.

Welsh Government / Llywodraeth Cymru

Tel / Ffon – 029 2089 8012

Mob / Ffon Symudol – 07817 203515

Preserving the Legacy of BAAF Cymru

Following the closure of BAAF Cymru on 4th September 2015, St. David’s will amalgamate core elements of the BAAF legacy into the organisation. Commenting on the amalgamation Gerry Cooney, chief executive of St. David’s said:

“It is our absolute priority to continue services that will support the future of adoption services in Wales as well as other permanency arrangements. The integration of core elements of the BAAF legacy will ensure the continuation of vital services including an information helpline, training and consultancy. These services will offer independent information,
support and expertise for professionals and members of the public that will assist and improve the lives of children and young people separated from their birth families.”

“The continuation of services has only been possible due to the superb support from the Welsh Government. We will now work together to harness the highly skilled expertise of both organisations to achieve our vision of placing children in their forever homes, and in offering support where needed to all those affected by adoption and other care arrangements.”

Wales is the only part of the UK where the BAAF legacy services remains completely intact; remarkably with no loss of employment to any BAAF staff. The National Adoption Service has assumed responsibility for the Welsh Adoption Register.

Training, consultancy, and an advice line for members of the public and professionals will be run by a new entity to be established by the St David’s Children Society, to be known as the ‘Association for Fostering and Adoption Cymru @ St David’s.’ This new service will offer a knowledge hub offering learning resources that will promote and reflect best practice. In addition, practice forums, groups for professionals working with children including health and legal advisors, and information exchanges will be available for professionals and people living with children. Staff have been recruited from the remaining former BAAF Cymru staff members who will support the development of Welsh specific resources and publications to support good practice in Wales.

Gerry Cooney
Chief Executive
St David’s Children Society

We are delighted that the Mayor and Mrs Tawn have joined us today kindly agreeing to open our new Hereford office. Thank you for affording us this time and for acknowledging the Society’s contribution to adoption services. It feels the Mayor has a natural affinity to adoption, reflected in the fact that he is with us today and also in that he choose SSAFA as one of his charities of the year. For over 30 years SSAFA has provided a range of family support services, including adoption services to members of the armed services across the UK, N Ireland and Germany.

As the Mayor referenced, in our 72 year history, St. David’s has placed over 2,000 children for adoption. Our work continues. Last year we placed, 45 children with new families and anticipate placing a similar number this year.

I would like to thank our adoption team for the exceptionally high degree of support they provide to children and families at all stage of the adoption process. A very sincere thanks to our Deputy Director, Joan Price and our adoption managers, whose leadership and professionalism have been instrumental in shaping and maintaining the quality of these services, and also to Helen and Chris Stevens, whose support in the opening of this office has been immense.

We warmly welcome the representatives of Herefordshire Co Co who are here today and in particular the social work practitioners of the Hereford adoption team. We share your mission and commitment. We look forward to working with you, learning from you and believe that in working together we can achieve ever greater outcomes for children awaiting adoption.

Across the country, some children wait far too long to achieve their optimum placement, particularly children over 4 years of age and sibling groups of children. Many have been neglected and ill treated. Most have had their attachments disrupted or experienced changes of schools which negatively impacts upon their education. The task facing us all is to help each of these children achieve their own unique story.

As social workers, we are custodians of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention advocating that each child has the right to a name, an identity, a life of stability and security, a place called home. Article 21 of the Convention reflects that where children cannot be looked after by their birth family, adoption may be considered as an alternative means of achieving family life. We recognise that adoption may not be the right option for every child, but for those children who require an adoption placement, it is a tremendously successful option. Adoption research consistently evidences that with support, children thrive in adoption placements.

Yet we would achieve very little by way of our mission, if it was not for the support of people in our communities who year after year, come forward to adopt children. We are privileged to have quite a number of adoptive families here today, including Jenny who spoke so movingly of her family’s adoption journey. More than anything else, it is the enduring love and lifelong commitment of adoptive families that creates safe, secure and loving worlds for these children. It is through you that these children reclaim all that was lost. We trust that in opening this office, we will reach out to more families like you. Thank you.

Gerry Cooney
Chief Executive

On Tuesday 8th November 2012, Wales’ country’s longest-serving adoption agency, St David’s Children Society, was awarded as one of top three adoption services in the UK by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF).

The award, held in London, was hosted by the BBC’s Nicky Campbell. It was launched to commemorate the 15th anniversary of National Adoption Week and celebrate the best of adoption practice across the UK.

Commenting on the award, Gerry Cooney, chief officer of St. David’s said, “This award is a testament to the professionalism and dedication of our staff.  It recognises the high quality of our adoption service, but more importantly, this award should inspire confidence in families who are thinking about adoption. It is imperative that all families considering adoption receive services of the highest quality.  This award assures families that they can trust St. David’s for outstanding services.”

The award came on the day that St David’s announced a long-term partnership with Adoption UK which is being heralded as the ‘gold standard’ in adoption support, providing services for adoptive families from the first enquiry about becoming an adopter right through to the adopted child reaching adulthood.

Commenting on the partnership, Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services said: “This kind of partnership working and peer-to-peer support is a great example of how new approaches can be found to share experience and improve the adoption process.”

Interested in adoption?

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