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Wed, 06 Jul 22 11:59

A family for life

Last month we celebrated National Adoption Week and this year’s theme was finding the right adopters for sibling groups.

There are currently over 2000 children waiting to be adopted in England, of which 61% are waiting to be adopted together with their siblings. Siblings are the longest and most significant relationship most of us will have over the course of our lifetimes. For many children, being adopted with their siblings provides continuity and mutual emotional support during what can be an exciting but overwhelming time.

There are so many immeasurable benefits for keeping siblings together. Siblings support and understand each other in a way that no one else can. They will have shared life experiences and can help each other with new experiences. Children who have siblings often learn to build strong relationships and develop healthier attachments to others and siblings can teach each other social skills and empathy too.

In Nottingham, we are committed to finding homes for children who are considered ‘harder to place’ which includes sibling groups. Although this can sometimes cause delays in our adoption timeliness it is most important to pursue the best placement option for the children in our care. It is vital that we work hard to match the right child/ren, with the right family. We had great success last year when we placed six siblings together, which shows our perseverance does pay off!

Adoption is the best solution for many children in the care system but it is not the only means of securing permanence and stability, options like Special Guardianship are increasingly being used to secure permanent, stable and loving homes for children for whom adoption is not an option. Emphasis needs to be on finding the right permanence option for every child be that adoption, Special Guardianship or, where possible, reunification.

We have recently re-configured our social work teams within children in care services, to provide a Permanence Team led by one of our experienced staff. This is part of our joint work within the East Midlands Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) to drive adoption and, equally importantly, other permanence options for our children. We anticipate that our work with the RAA will further improve practice and permanence performance for our children. We will continue to pro-actively pursue more timely adoption as part of partnership and participation in the RAA, whilst also continuing to find families for harder to place children.

We marked National Adoption Week by celebrating the role that extended family members can play in an adopted child’s life. In Nottingham, our adoption service found homes for 47 children during 2016 but there are many more who are in need of the love and support that a stable and committed family life can provide.

Our outcomes for children are positive in terms of the number of children achieving adoptive homes. For the three years prior we were able to secure permanency through adoption for 153 children, with the majority (59%) of children adopted, falling into one or more of the four hard to place categories.

Being a parent can be tough, but all children deserve a loving forever family - so if you have space in your home, and your heart, for more than one child, it is definitely worth considering adopting a sibling group.

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