FFC secures funding to offer Centre of Excellence for Adoption Support Services in the SW

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Families for Children, local adoption agency and charitable trust based in Buckfastleigh, Devon, are delighted to announce they have secured a Practice and Improvement Grant from the DfE for Adoption Support. The grant, of just under half a million pounds, will enable the charity to extend their support services to meet the growing and diverse needs of adoptive families and children  across Devon, Cornwall, Somerset , Dorset and the Isles of Scilly.

At a crucial time for Adoption in the UK, Families for Children plans will see them further develop their current adoption support services create 10 key new jobs across the region from clinical phycologists to support workers.

Janet Smith, Adoption Support Manager says, “These are exciting times for the Agency. As a specialist adoption agency we have always prided ourselves in being able to offer our families the very best in support for as long as they might need it. The grant will allow us to extend these services and build on those we already provide to promote what we hope will be a Centre of Excellence in the South West for adoption support. Primarily we will be looking to develop a four stage service to include the development of Multi-Disciplinary Therapeutic Support, a comprehensive training programme for adopters, to establish an education service for professionals and the all-important immediate response service for adopters in crisis.”

The Agency stress how important it is for adopters to know they have a support plan in place and that there is some where they can go for help however small or large that need may be. Many of the children they place have come from a traumatic start in life and sometimes that history can manifest itself in behavioural and emotional behaviour later in life. Whilst some display effects immediately and support is ongoing from the start for other families it may not be needed until the child hits puberty or adolescence. The new service aims to target some of the services needed regularly as well as looking at educating those involved in the process from adopters to school support and beyond. The key areas being developed are:

  • A Multi-disciplinary team involving clinicians from health, education and social care as well as access to a wide variety of therapists from an approved users list to offer adopted children and their families specialist assessments in order to accurately identify, plan, and deliver a support package that best meets their needs.
  • Comprehensive training programme for adopters to help them with ‘therapeutic parenting’ and  issues such as child on parent violence, or the complex parenting needs of children suffering the effects of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome or sexual abuse.
  • Wraparound service supporting all non-therapeutic needs of adoptive families, such as, telephone support, information, signposting, support groups, activities for adults and children, and short respite breaks.
  • Learning support service for adoptive parents and schools to aid understanding of the difficulties and needs of adoptive children in school, in particular at times of transition.

The charity are currently support supporting over 120 families with adoption services.  This is only set to grow with the increasing number of children been placed for adoption who will need additional support because of the effects of trauma during their early years. With the funding only available until early 2018 the need for the charity to continue to raise funds to meet this growth and continue its delivery is critical, as without this service many families would be left to cope alone.

A couple who attended an existing Families for Children Support Course says

 “We have been adoptive parents since January 2014 and this course came just at the right time for us. We were starting to run out of energy and in our worst moments worrying if we had taken on too much.

Meeting and sharing our experience with people who really understood our journey, helped us understand how far we had actually come. The content of the course built on and reminded us of our pre-adoption training.

It deepened our knowledge and helped us to interpret our little girl’s behaviour in new ways. We had so many moments during the 4 days where a light went on in both our heads, “so that’s why she does that!

We have subsequently amended our instinctive parenting response and with P.A.C.E we are starting to see positive change already. It’s really starting to make things more fun!

We know we have so much to learn but it’s given us back a spring in our step for the next part of our family’s journey. Thank you so much for helping us just when we need it.”

For further details please call on 01364 645480 or visit www.familiesforchildren.org.uk