As an adoptive parent, you will be able to access support from us after the Adoption Order has been made. Your child may have developed ways of coping which make it difficult for them to form relationships and manage their emotions and behaviour, this may be due to their early life experiences. The staff at Adoption West is made up of experienced social workers and support workers who are available to offer support with this.
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, if your family requires adoption support then this is accessed through the local authority where you live, who will assess your family’s needs.
Adoption West provides adoption support services on behalf of the local authorities in our area.
Who can access adoption support services?
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.
How can I access support?
We have an open-door approach whereby you can contact us with adoption related problems or queries. We have dedicated duty officers available every working day: 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4pm on Fridays to offer advice and support and they can take a referral for adoption support.
The phone number for all support enquiries is 03303 550 333.
Social events and support groups for adoptive families
In addition to our regular support groups, we offer a wide range of events including conferences, family fun days, Christmas parties and 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. Therefore, we provide a range of courses and seminars focusing on subjects including therapeutic parenting and attachment.
Peer-led support groups and forums
We can direct you to a number of adopter led groups and forums, who currently provide peer support and discussion about a wide range of issues relating to adoption.
Once you become an adoptive parent, if an assessment of need identifies that therapeutic support is appropriate, this can accessed through the Adoption Support Fund.
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/CYPS)
- Parents carer forums
- Early help teams
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 provides an independent support service to birth relatives using the Birth Links Team. 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.