A new national campaign, supported by Coram, launches today (20 June), uniting regional and voluntary adoption agencies across the country to highlight the circle of support for adoptive parents.
The campaign, led by ‘You Can Adopt’*, aims to reach potential parents for children from certain groups that often wait longest to be adopted including children aged five or over, those with additional and/or complex needs, brother and sister groups, and those from Black and mixed heritage backgrounds. Over half (59%) of children waiting for permanent homes are from these groups where it takes an average of eight months longer to be adopted.**
To help find parents for these children, the campaign aims to encourage potential adopters by acknowledging that, while these children will need additional support, the power of family and a permanent home can be transformational for them, and support is available to help adopters on this journey.
The campaign sees a series of new films released featuring real life stories from those who have adopted and fostered children, and others who have been adopted themselves. The films spotlight the various means of support available throughout the adoption journey from regional and voluntary adoption agencies, social care workers, charities, employers, friends, relatives, peers, and more. The campaign also brings together a new coalition of charities, organisations, and employers including John Lewis and Family Fund who are committed to supporting adoptive parents.***
Adoption support services are available for families and children at all different ages and stages of the adoption journey, from preparation to adopt to meeting children’s needs for the future. The Adoption Support Fund, set up by the Government, can provide access to therapeutic services for children and their parents, following an assessment of support needs. Coram provides lifelong support to its adoptive families, offering services including parenting skills courses, help with accessing education and health services, and access to therapeutic support.
You Can Adopt has also published new research as part of the campaign**** exploring parents’ support networks and the diverse meaning of family and community to the wider public. It finds that 85% believe community is important in raising a child, 60% have people they refer to as family outside of immediate family or blood relatives, and 39% of parents found support from other parents invaluable when raising their child. In addition, 42% of parents say their child has non-blood relatives they refer to as aunty or uncle, which increases to 73% of Asian (Indian) parents, 61% of Black Caribbean parents, and 57% of Black African parents.
Coram, who is supporting the campaign, leads the regional adoption agency Coram Ambitious for Adoption in partnership with eight local authorities across London and Slough Children First. Coram welcomes enquiries from prospective adopters across London and surrounding areas. The first step for anyone interested in adopting is to join one of Coram’s free monthly online information events, with the next events on 11 July and 17 August.
Sue Lowndes, Managing Director of Coram Ambitious for Adoption, said: “We are pleased to support this important campaign which shines a light on the children who often wait longest to find a family, and hope it will inspire prospective adopters to consider these children.
“We warmly welcome enquiries from people across London and surrounding areas who can provide safe and loving homes for a child or children in these groups. In particular, we’d encourage potential adoptive parents from black and ethnic minority communities to come forward so we can focus on matching more children with families who can promote their ethnicity, culture and identity as they grow up. We’d urge anyone interested to come along to one of our information events where they can find out more, including how we support you throughout the adoption process and afterwards.”
Anna, who with her husband adopted two sisters through Coram, said: “The training and ongoing support from Coram has been vital. Once the girls were placed, we had a phone call every day from our social worker and we saw her at least once a week for the first month. She was always at the end of the phone and always checking in with us. Coram also advised us to apply for the Adoption Support Fund which gave us access to a child psychologist and music therapy which has been fantastic. And the girls know about Coram and that as they grow older they can return to the same place to get help. For anyone considering adoption we’d recommend talking to other adopters, getting as much information as you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
*You Can Adopt is a nationwide adopter recruitment campaign which aims to raise awareness of adoption and bust myths around who is eligible. The campaign is being delivered by The National Adoption Recruitment Steering Group and is supported by the Department for Education. A specialist recruitment push targeting Black and mixed heritage adopters to come forward and adopt children with a similar background will run alongside this national campaign.
** Average times from entry into care to adoption for children who had been adopted in the first three quarters in 2022/23. Produced by the Children’s and Social Care Secretariat, delivered by Coram-i. Eight months is the how much longer children with ‘harder to place’ characteristics wait, compared to children without these characteristics.
*** You Can Adopt has united a number of organisations, charities and employers to show widespread commitment to supporting and encouraging prospective adopters looking to adopt children that wait longest, including John Lewis, Family Fund, Family Action, Fertility Network, The Council for Disabled Children and Churches Together England.
**** The attitudinal research was conducted by Opinion Matters, with a sample size of 2,000 adults and an additional boost of 1,500 for Black audiences.