Adoption during the pandemic: our social worker Allyce's working week
Published: Wednesday 16th September 2020
As the national adoption campaign #YouCanAdopt gets underway, read the 'My Working Week' feature in The Guardian from back in May, where Coram social worker Allyce Green describes how the pandemic is impacting on adoption practice.
Coram has reported a 24% increase in enquiries from prospective adopters over the past six months, despite the pandemic and lockdown measures, but more adoptive families are still needed to meet demand.
In the height of lockdown in May, Coram social worker Allyce shared her working week in the adoption team for The Guardian, highlighting how adoption assessments are continuing despite the challenges thrown up by the pandemic.
See below for an excerpt.
I speak to a social worker to gather health information about a child. I am relieved when she answers the phone, but she sounds overwhelmed. I see the effects of austerity, cuts to services and high workloads on social workers every day in this job, and how these have increased exponentially since Covid-19 struck. I worry about the wellbeing of these key workers. At this time of national emergency, home is not a safe haven for many children.
Adoption assessments are continuing despite lockdown, and today I set up a virtual meeting with a couple in the first stage of the assessment to discuss health information that may impact whether they are able to adopt at all. The meeting is difficult as I cannot guarantee they will be deemed fit to adopt based on the information that has come to light. It is difficult to share bad news with applicants at the best of times, but harder when you can’t be with them in person.
We are still getting enquiries from people interested in adopting and today I take a call from a single prospective adopter of black Caribbean descent. It is not the right time to proceed as she plans to move house but I am keen to continue a dialogue with her due to the high numbers of BAME children waiting for adoptive families. I invite her to attend a virtual meeting with a social worker in a few weeks’ time. As we process adoption enquiries, we now have to take into account the implications of the pandemic for job security.