Produced by Ricochet Productions, the programme sensitively captures the moments when children and adopters meet and interact for the first time, explores the process and chemistry of matching, and sees foster carers and social workers express their hopes for the children they look after.
Introduced to England and Wales six years ago, Adoption Activity Days have a one in four success rate and are now being piloted in fostering as a means of securing permanence for children. They have proved particularly effective for those children who wait the longest for find their forever family. Most recent figures from the National Adoption Register2 show that the children who are wait the longest are sibling groups, children over five, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children and children with additional needs or disabilities.
Adoption Activity Days provide children and approved adopters with an opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed setting; by joining in with games and taking part in activities such as crafts and painting together. Adopters also have the chance to meet the children’s social workers and foster carers and find out more about each child’s needs and personalities.
Sally Beaumont, Manager of Coram’s Adoption Activity Day team, said:
“Adoption Activity Days are one of the tools available to practitioners working with looked after children which help ensure that everything possible is undertaken to find them permanent families. It is a really effective means of enabling the child’s personality to come alive rather than adopters relying solely on the child’s written profile.
“Bringing children and their prospective parents together at an Activity Day requires sensitivity, empathy and skill and the needs of each child are paramount. The Coram team running each Adoption Activity Day have to be mindful of accommodating everyone whether they are shy, outgoing, confident or more hesitant, so that there is an equal chance for everyone to get to know each another. Before attending an Activity Day, children and adopters are fully prepared and supported. For children who are old enough, the focus is the day as an event where there is a possibility of meeting their new parents but this is primarily a day for them to have fun. If a match doesn’t occur as a result of the Activity Day, the team working with the child will explain that the right family for them has not been found on this occasion but that we will keep on trying.
This is naturally a very sensitive area for filming and children and families were supported throughout the process with a safeguarding consultant working in partnership with all agencies. There is still a pressing need in the country for adoptive parents and foster carers and we hope that this programme inspires people to come forward and find out more.”
Finding Me a Family comprises two episodes, the first is at 9pm on Tuesday 5 December and the second at 10pm Tuesday 12 December. #FindingMeAFamily.
For further information about Coram’s Adoption Activity Days please visit www.coramadoption.org.uk/activitydays
First4Adoption is the national adoption information service for people wanting to adopt in England. First4Adoption’s phone number is 0300 222 022 (all calls are charged at a local rate). The service is available from Monday – Friday 10.00 – 18.00.
1: At 31 March 2017 there were 72,670 looked after children. Source: Department for Education Children looked after in England (including adoption), year ending 31 March 2017.
2. The Adoption Register for England is a national statutory database managed by Adoption Match on behalf of the Department for Education.