As child psychotherapists working within a Looked After Children’s team, we became concerned about the ways in which children were being moved from foster care into adoption. In our view this was being done very quickly, and with very little contact between children and their foster carers afterwards.
Finding a complete lack of research into this area, we carried out a piece of qualitative research, interviewing foster carers, adopters and social workers to analyse in detail five children’s moves into adoption. We found that the emotional experience of the child, particularly their experience of losing their foster carer, became less prominent in people’s minds during this transition. In what is a highly anxious time for the adults we found that for very understandable reasons they lost sight of what was happening emotionally for the child.
We hope this research will generate some much needed debate and further research into children’s moves into adoption, or indeed any move from one carer to another. We believe what is needed is a better integration of theory and practice so that we become more sensitive to children’s experiences during this transition, keeping the emotional experience of the child central in people’s minds.
We are collating feedback from foster carers and adoptive parents, as well as professionals, such as psychologists, social workers and IROs. We would love to hear from people who would like to share their views or experiences.
Conference: Ensuring good transitions into adoption – preparing and supporting children, their foster carers and prospective adopters
Hosted by: CoramBAAF
Date: 20 October 2016
We will be presenting our research, together with expert speakers focusing on various areas of practice.
Click here to find out more.
How you can get involved...
Beth Neil, Professor of Social Work at the University of East Anglia, is launching a new venture in conjunction with colleagues from CoramBAAF and Great Ormond Street Hospital to develop new guidelines and frameworks to improve the transition from foster care to adoption. Their first task is to gather information and ideas from people already working in this field or those who have direct experience.
If you are a foster carer, adoptive parent or practitioner with experience or ideas for re-thinking practice in foster to adoption transitions, Beth would love to hear from you. For example you might be developing training for foster carers and adopters, improving practice or assessment frameworks to help plan children’s moves or working on other ways of supporting children or adults with their feelings.
As well as gathering people’s experience and expertise, Beth is also looking to recruit practitioners to join their stakeholder consultation group.
Please see a letter from Beth for full details and feel free to contact her directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.