I am delighted to have been invited to the official opening of these new offices and to be part of such an important day for all those who work for St David’s Children’s Society and their partners.
It was wonderful to listen to the story Jenny, a local adoptive family who so movingly spoke about their experience of adoption, in particular, hearing of the immense joy of a vulnerable child entering and becoming part of their family. It was a privilege to listen and share in this journey and the important part that St David’s played in orchestrating it.
Since 1942 St. David’s Children Society has provided adoption services across all of Herefordshire and Wales. During that time the Society has placed over 2,000 children for adoption – a very significant contribution to children and family life. Perhaps, the quality of their services is most evident in their very low adoption breakdown rates – two disruptions in their last 100 placements. This is all the more remarkable given that the Society specialises in placing older children and sibling groups of children for adoption. It is also evidenced by the fact that BAAF (the British Agencies for Adoption & Fostering) has awarded St. David’s the accolade of being one of the top three outstanding voluntary adoption agencies in the UK.
Hereford City and the County of Herefordshire have a great tradition of positively responding to the needs of children waiting for adoption. It is good to see prospective adopters being offered greater choice as they explore and reflect on their decision to adopt. Securing permanence for children is a key consideration from the day the each child enters the care system. We are all aware that there are a number of routes to permanency: through reunification with the child’s family, through fostering, Special Guardianship Orders and ultimately through adoption. Across England, over 4,000 children wait for adoption placements. Against this backdrop, the opening of this office is wholeheartedly welcomed and can only be good for children.
It is great to welcome social work practitioners from our Hereford adoption team to this event, evidence of the ever greater collaborative working together between the public and voluntary sectors. All share the same aim, to secure loving family life for all of these children who wait for permanent families.
I applaud the commitment and energy St David’s has in securing adoptive placements for some of our older children who have been let down for whatever reason and find themselves within the care system, and also for providing the specialised lifelong services they need. You are very welcome to Hereford and we wish you every success in your vital work.
Mayor of Hereford, Cllr Len Tawn
3rd November 2014