They have recently emailed us with an update:
We've looked at your web page, the information it gives out will be of great help to folk who, like ourselves, are struggling to find the best way of ensuring good outcomes for the children who are moving on.
Following continued pressure from our small group, our local authority Education and Childrens' Services took our paper "Moving from Fostering to Adoption", and discussed it extensively among the Family Placement and Permanence Teams.
They decided that many of the suggest changes in practice were sensible, and agreed to take them forward.
On Wednesday, our Head of Service presented a half day training, covering the whole process of moving a child on, from approval to adopt right through to contact by Foster Carers after the move to the adopters' home. The changes to practise initiated by our paper were detailed for the benefit of the Foster Carers present.
The areas in which the ideas put forward by Emma, Marco, Elaine and myself have been implemented:
- Foster Carers are to be invited to visit to the prospective adopters' home, and give information about the child in a place familiar and comfortable to the adopters, rather than a formal meeting room in an office building.
- Acceptance that the 7 to 10 day for introductions rule needs to be more flexible and tailored to the individual child, length of time with Carers, age, verbal or pre-verbal, etc. Up to 21 days will be available if needed.
- A Co-ordination Meeting after the child has visited the new home and spent time there with the adopters, in order to gauge their readiness for the final move.
- A statement from the outset, especially to outside adoption agencies and other local authorities that the Foster Carers will visit the child in its new home, tapering off the frequency of the visits as the child's attachment moves to the adoptive parents. The dates/timing for the visits will be set and agreed at the Co-ordination Meeting.
We consider this to be a very satisfactory outcome.
On behalf of our small group, I thank you for producing the report "The Children Were Fine" which initiated and encouraged us to go forward with our approach to our local authority.
Also, we thank you on behalf of the children engaged in future transitions. We are sure that your work will ease and improve the transition into their new life and help them become stable, secure and happy young people.
Syd and Elaine