Here's the new guide to Social Workers for children who are in their first 24 hours of care.
Take a look at some Frequently Asked Questions about Adoption
One Adoption West Yorkshire is a regional adoption agency which provides adoption services for councils in West Yorkshire, including Wakefield Council. The adoption social workers at One Adoption West Yorkshire work closely with children’s social workers at the council to find adoptive families for children and support them as they grow up.
The recruitment and assessment team find people who want to adopt a child or children and prepare them to make sure they are going to be good adoptive parents. It is a long process and the people who want to adopt have to answer lots of questions, and do a lot of training, because it is really important that they are ready and prepared to be parents for children. The manager of this team is called Michelle Rawlings.
Each child who has a plan for adoption has their own social worker in One Adoption called a family finder, whose job it is to help find the right adoptive family for them to grow up in once the Court has decided they should be adopted. The family finder looks at lots of different parts of the child’s life and the adopters’ and consider if they feel they would work well together as a family. Things like what hobbies and interests they have, whether they already have children in the family, any health issues, even if they have pets! This sometimes takes a while as it is very important that the child and adopters are a good match, because they will become a family. The family finding social workers then work with foster carers and the child’s social worker to help introduce the child to their new adoptive parents and eventually move in with them. The manager for this service is called Suzanne Whiteley and the team manager for Wakefield is Carl Nash.
There is also an adoption support team, who work with and support adoptive families as the child grows up. They arrange support groups, so families can meet and chat with other families like them, and children can meet and play with other adopted children. The team also provide more specific, individual support if a family needs it. The manager for this service is called Julie Chew and the team manager for the Wakefield area is Amy Wood.
One Adoption also provides support to adults who have been adopted and to birth relatives of children who have been adoption. This support is separate from One Adoption and Wakefield Council. The One Adoption website has a page which is for birth relatives with the details of the support service, you can find it here.
“Hi, I’m Sarah Johal and I’m the head of One Adoption West Yorkshire. We want all children to grow up in a safe, loving and secure family. Unfortunately some children are not able to stay with their birth, or first, family for many different reasons, so we work hard to try to find adoptive families for the children, who the court has decided should be adopted. We are also here to help families after adoption too in lots of different ways including providing support groups and opportunities to meet other adopted children.”
Sometimes a decision will be made by children’s social workers and the court that children should stay being fostered, because this is the right plan for the child. This is usually the best plan for children who are older and need to stay in regular contact with their birth family, even if they can’t live with them.
This is a hard one to answer, as there are lots of things to think about when making decisions. One Adoption always tries to find new families who are able to look after brothers and sisters together. Unfortunately, this sometimes isn’t possible, and it is decided that the best option is to find separate homes. Often when some of the sibling group are older than the others it might be decided that adoption is the best option for some of the brothers and sisters but not the others. Some children need to live in an adoptive family on their own and see their brothers and sisters rather than live with them.
This would usually be the first choice if a child can’t be looked after by their own parents. Social workers would try to find a family member who could look after the child, this is called Kinship Care. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. It could be that other family members have too many other responsibilities such as their own children or work etc. or they might have health problems.
It may also be that the social worker or the courts do not think it is best for the child. It is the responsibility of the courts and the social workers to put the child’s wellbeing and safety first.
Nationally around 3,500 children are adopted each year. In West Yorkshire last year there were 169 children who were adopted, and there are currently around 110 who have a ‘plan for adoption’.
This depends on the circumstances surrounding that child during the pregnancy and at the time of their birth. The parents’ situation may have changed since the siblings went into care. Social workers would look at each situation individually and consider the risks to the baby and what care they are likely to receive once they are born, if they were to stay with their parents. Sometimes children will just go into care for a short time while an assessment is made.
Using social media to make contact can be risky and does not always lead to the best results. There are privacy risks so it is important to stay in control of who can see your private information and photographs. When you contact someone on Facebook they have access to all your profile information.
Instead, contact with adopted brothers and sisters should be managed though One Adoption who will keep everyone’s details private and will support families if things get tricky.
Many people who have been adopted feel, at some time in their lives, that they would like to find out more about their birth family and possibly make contact with them. Once they are 18 they are legally allowed to look for their birth relatives. However, it can be hard, so people often choose to take it one step at a time so might not try as soon as they are 18.
Once they are 18, if they want to, they can leave a note on their adoption file to let birth relatives know they would welcome contact from them. Or they might ask for help from One Adoption or another agency to help them find and meet with relatives. There is also the Adoption Contact Register which is a national register which puts adopted adults and their birth relatives in touch with each other, if that’s what they both wish.
No, One Adoption West Yorkshire scan and upload letters to a case file, but letters will not be read unless specifically requested and agreed by an adoption manager. This would be if there is a privacy or safety concern.
Once the letterbox agreement ends (usually when the child reaches 18) the whole of the Letterbox file will transfer to the child's adoption file which is kept for 100 years from the date of the Adoption Order.