News - Press release on the opening of St. David’s Children’s Society new offices

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Children must come first – Deputy Minister urges local authorities to continue adoption work in partnership with voluntary sector adoption agencies

Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas AM has today praised those local authorities who work in closer partnership with voluntary sector adoption agencies. She urged them to continue to grow those relationships to ensure they enhance the life chances of more children, by helping them to secure places in loving, family homes.

The Deputy Minister was speaking today as she officially opened the new offices of St David’s Children Society, the only voluntary adoption agency in Wales approved by the Assembly to provide a comprehensive range of adoption services across Wales. She said:

“Achieving permanence for a child is a key consideration from the day the child becomes looked after, we are all aware that there are a number of options to help achieve this through reunification with the child’s family, through long term foster care and ultimately through adoption….”

“With an increase of a further 500 children entering the looked after population, there is a need now more than ever for collaborative working between the voluntary, private and public sectors. We all have the same aim to provide emotional, physical and legal stability for the children of Wales, so it is time that we embrace the situation and break down any barriers that may exist and work in partnership for the best interest of the child….”

“I applaud and recognise 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 services they need.”

Chair of Trustees, Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick, thanked her for her strong support for the work of St David’s which places about 10% of all

children placed in Wales annually. He said: “I know we can do more. We already work with a considerable number of local authorities but if all of the services across Wales could see us as the important resource we are, we can, together, create many more opportunities for children who are otherwise left behind in the search for a family. We can help so many of those couples who approach us to become the wonderful adopters they can be. I echo the Deputy Minister’s words –‘ to break down barriers and ensure that not one child should wait one day longer in care than necessary.’

Gerry Cooney Chief Executive of St David’s Children Society said: “We are delighted that the Deputy Minister could take the time to meet with us, and today, to open our new offices in Park Place here in Cardiff. In recognising that the services provided by voluntary adoption agencies are of excellent quality, we also acknowledge the work of our dedicated staff. These specialists offer an exceptionally high degree of support to adoptive families and children at all stage of the adoption process. Voluntary adoption agencies have been at the forefront of developing and offering new ideas and approaches to the provision of adoption services. We hope to take forward this excellent and innovative work in new partnerships with local authorities, and that our new offices will provide the springboard for us to continue to grow our core commitment – to support the adoptive family and child for life.”

Author: Gerry Cooney 05.10.2010

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