What support can I access?
As an adoptive parent, you will still get support from us after the Adoption Order has been made. The team at Adoption West is made up of experienced social workers, support workers, and education specialists who are on hand to help you through the years ahead. As a consequence of what may have happened before he or she came to live with you, your child may have developed ways of coping which make it difficult for them to form relationships and manage their emotions and behaviour.
The local authority which placed your child with you is responsible for assessing your adoption support needs for three years after the Adoption Order was made. After three years, it becomes the responsibility of the local authority where you live to assess your needs and to provide support to you and your family.
Adoption West provides adoption support services on behalf of the local authorities in our area.
What adoption support services do we offer?
We operate a daily duty service within office hours, to take initial enquiries from families and individuals seeking support, this includes adopters, children and young people who have been adopted, adopted adults, and birth relatives of those who have been adopted.
Counselling, advice, support
We have a dedicated and highly qualified team of staff to provide counselling and advice on a whole range of things you may be experiencing as a result of adoption. Team members can assist with assessing needs, accessing other support services and making sure you get the help you’re looking for.
Social events and support groups for adoptive families
We offer a wide range of events including conferences, summer BBQs, Christmas parties, specific events for different age groups. We work in partnership with the Centre for Adoption Support & Education (www.adoptionsupportcentre.org/ ) who provide regular coffee mornings, after school events, fun activities and specific events for early permanence carers, single and same sex adopters.
Ongoing training and parenting skills
We know that learning about adoption doesn’t end with your training during the assessment process, quite the opposite. We will continue to help you to be a great parent with a range of online and face to face courses and seminars.
Support groups and forums
A number of adopter led forums currently provide peer support and discussion about a wide range of issues relating to adoption
Adoptive families can apply for therapeutic services, which are provided by trained and experienced staff and also by applying to the Adoption Support Fund who can allocate money to adopters to pay for therapeutic services for their child.
As an adoptive parent there may be a range of additional support services that your child and family could benefit from, we know that understanding and navigating this world is complex so we are here to help explain and introduce you to other services that can offer help:
- Educational support and virtual schools
- Special educational needs (SEN) teams or 0-25 disability teams
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
- Parents carer forums: BANES Parent Carers Aiming High, Bristol Parent Carers, Glos Parent Carers, North Somerset Parent Carers, South Glos Parents and Carers, Wiltshire Parent Carer Council
- Supportive parents
- Youth Offending
If you were adopted as a child and now live within the Adoption West area, we can offer:
- Support from an experienced adoption worker who will help you locate your birth records and share these with you. You will need to be 18 to do this. We will also support you in understanding why you were adopted and discuss your feelings about this.
- Information about the adoption contact register. This puts adopted adults and their birth relatives, if registered, in touch with one another and is administered by the General Register Office.
- Signposting to agencies who can help you trace birth relatives.
Adoption West commissions an independent support service to birth relatives from a Voluntary Adoption Agency. This service provides counselling, support and information about adoption when:
- Adoption is the plan for your child
- Your child has already been placed for adoption or has been adopted
- You are a relative of a child who will be or has been adopted
If you are affected by any of the above, we recognise that it is very important for you to have relevant information and the chance to talk about how adoption might affect you now and in the future.
The feelings associated with adoption may be confusing, involving grief, loss and anger. It may not be easy for you to discuss these feelings with your family or friends so we are here to listen and support you.