Advice and Information for people affected by historical adoption practices

During this year’s Big Adoption Conversation event, which brought together the adoption community to discuss the priorities for adoption in Wales, The Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan made a personal apology to those affected by historic adoption practices.

Mrs Morgan said;

“Whilst forced adoption practices predate devolution in Wales, they have a lasting legacy on all those who experienced them – for both the parents and the children. I want to put on record my profound sympathy to all those who have been affected by historic forced adoption.

“To all the victims, I would like to convey my deepest sympathy and regret that due to society failing you, you had to endure such appalling historical practices. For this I am truly sorry.”

 

Her full statement can be read here and here is a link to an audio recording of the statement.

 

The National Adoption Service for Wales holds deepest sympathy ​for all affected. The injustice of these historical practices should continue to be acknowledged. 

 

Adoption has changed considerably since that time and is now considered for children only when other options have been fully explored​.

Services aim to help birth families to stay together wherever that is possible, and where this is not, adoption provides children with safety and the opportunity to thrive.

If you’re an adopted adult, birth parent or another birth relative affected by historic adoptions in the 1950s, 60s and early 1970s, there are a range of existing services that can support you.

 

You can seek advice and support from your local adoption agency, to help you explore what help may be available to you locally to deal with the impact of the historic adoption of your child.

Contact details for all the adoption agencies in Wales can be found on our website:

 

https://www.adoptcymru.com/contact

 

Each of these Regional Adoption Services offer a range of services to adopted adults and their birth relatives. Details of these services can be found on the relevant section of their websites:

Voluntary Adoption Agencies can also offer services to those affected by historic adoptions that took place through them:

 

As well as the statutory and voluntary adoption agencies, there are other organisations that can help those affected by adoption. Some of these services are available at little or no cost, while for others the cost is greater.

The website Adoption Search and Reunion is intended to be the first port of call for anyone thinking about tracing for or making contact with birth and adopted relatives or retracing an adoption that took place in the UK.

www.adoptionsearchreunion.org.uk

Another source of information and advice for adopted adults anywhere in the UK is Family Connect

www.familyconnect.org.uk

To find out details of other services, including those that offer a fee-based service, please contact your local adoption agency, who will be able to advise you about the range of services available locally and nationally. Some of the services operating across the UK can help with access to records and others may also be able to assist where both parties want to reconnect by offering what is known as an intermediary service. Some of the organisations are charities and others are private businesses and this is reflected in the costs for their services.

All organisations providing these services must be registered with Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) or Ofsted in England.

Access to records and intermediary services

All 5 Regional Adoption Services in Wales, based in local authorities can help with access to records. This is statutory duty. They may also be able offer an intermediary service. Unlike access to birth records for adopted people, this is a discretionary service. There is no charge for either of these services, but capacity is limited, and you may have to wait for a while before you can see someone.

Organisations that offer services including access to birth records and/or intermediary services other than the regional adoption services within Wales are listed below. All these organisations will also provide some emotional support. In some cases that will be provided by an adoption social worker in others by a trained counsellor or therapist.

Adoption Finder Intermediary Service – this is the only such agency based in Wales and able to offer a service through the medium of Welsh. It offers an access to birth records, tracing and intermediary services.

www.adoptionfinder.co.uk

CMB Counselling – this organisation offers adoption support services to adopted people, birth relatives of adopted people and descendants of those adopted before 30th December 2005.

www.cmb-counselling.com

Father Hudson’s Care – this charitable agency offers support to all those affected by adoption, including tracing and intermediary services.

www.fatherhudsons.org.uk/adults/support-after-adoption/8.htm

Joanna North Associates Ltd.  – this is company offering a range of services to adopted adults and birth relatives, including access to birth records, counselling, tracing and intermediary services.

www.joannanorth.co.uk

PAC-UK – this is an organisation operating UK wide. It has a specialist service which provides support for adults adopted as children, and for adults otherwise permanently placed as children. This includes access to adoption records, tracing,  intermediary services and counselling.

www.pac-uk.org/our-services/adopted-adults/

There are a number of other organisations that offer emotional or psychological support to those affected by adoption, but which are not in a position to assist with access to birth records, tracing or provide intermediary services. Details of these can be found on the website for the Consortium of Adoption Support Agencies (CASA)

www.casa-uk.org/directory

The adoption contact register

Details of all adoptions in England and Wales are kept by the General Register Office (GRO). The GRO operates the national Adoption Contact Register, which allows adopted people and birth parents of adopted people to register their details and state whether or not they wish to be contacted by others. There is a cost to be added to the register. This is £15 for adopted adults or £30 for birth family members. Please note that the contact register is only able to make connections between those people who have chosen to place their details on that register and have registered their willingness to have contact. There is no tracing or intermediary service associated with it.

www.gov.uk/adoption-records/the-adoption-contact-register

The legal framework and process for access to birth records

Adopted adults – under UK law, all adopted adults have a legal right to access information from their birth records, in order to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate at any time after their 18th birthday. The law requires that these records are stored securely for at least 100 years. The legal framework differs somewhat, depending on if you were adopted before 12th November 1975 or after that date. If you already know your basic birth details, you can contact the General Register Office (GRO) to obtain a copy of your original birth certificate (www.gov.uk/adoption-records). If you don’t know those basic details, you will need to fill in an application form to obtain them. Details are on the GRO website. Alternatively, you can email adoptions@gro.gov.uk or phone 0300 123 1837.

Most of the detailed information about the circumstances surrounding adoptions will have been recorded in the case files of the agency that placed a child with their adoptive parents. These records are held by or can be accessed by an existing adoption agency. The GRO will ask the adopted adult to nominate an adoption agency to assist them in accessing their records. This will usually be the adoption agency in their locality, even if your records are held elsewhere. If the adoption order was made before 12th November 1975, there is a legal requirement for an adoption social worker to meet with the adoptee before they can access their records. If they were adopted after that date, they don’t have to speak to an adoption social worker, but it is likely to be very helpful to do so. The adoption social worker can advise and support them with understanding the information and putting it in its historical context. They can also discuss what options there are if the adoptee wishes to enquire further or seek reunion and therefore requires tracing and an intermediary service.

Life Journey Work Newsletter

Life Journey Work is a vital part of the work that needs to be done with all children looked after, but especially those who are being adopted. NAS published its Life Journey Work Framework in 2018 and associated with this, brought together a wealth of resources in the form of a LJW toolkit, which is freely available on our website. This was the first such framework in the UK. The aim was to ensure that high quality Life Journey Work is undertaken at key points from when a child first becomes 'looked after', through to the time they join their adoptive family and beyond. There has been great progress made since that time, in ensuring that Life Journey materials are made available to children and their adoptive parents in a timely manner. Following the LJW Framework the first NAS Life Journey Work newsletter was published in January last year and the second one is now available. Further issues will be published annually, with each newsletter having a specific focus. This issue focuses on the Later Life Letter, but also has a great deal else, which will be of interest to anybody with an interest in adoption. 

Life Journey Work Newsletter 2022

The Welsh Adoption Support Commitment

The National Adoption Service Adoption Support Commitment outlines the support that all adoptive families in Wales can expect to be able to access at each stage of their adoption journey. It is part of a continuing drive to develop and improve the quality, consistency and range of adoption support services across Wales. The Commitment is the first document of its kind in the UK, and its ambition is to ensure adoptive families in Wales feel confident that information and support is available when needed, from professionals with specialist knowledge of adoption and children’s care needs. 
The National Adoption Service Adoption Support Commitment
 

Update on support to adoptive families in the current Covid-19 pandemic

Update on support to adoptive families in the current Covid-19 pandemic

Please see the latest information here

For Adopted Children and Adoptive Parents: Health Leaflets

In consultation with adoptive families across Wales, the National Adoption Service has identified areas where healthcare professionals in primary and secondary care services can positively contribute to the well being of adopted children, young people and their families by understanding more about some of the challenges that adopted young people often face as they are growing up.

In response to this consultation we have created leaflets and posters that may be helpful for you to download and share when your children have a health appointment and you would like the health professional dealing with them to know how to respond both in the consultation room and in the waiting area. 

Contact and the rights of children and young people adopted or in care

Contact between brothers and sisters following care proceedings can often be disjointed particularly where different arrangements are in place for different children from a family group as agreed by the court. In practice, much depends on the willingness of the adults involved to facilitate contact. The rise of social media has also changed the experience of 'contact' for many young people.  If you feel you or your children need more information about their legal rights to contact you can download the factsheet for children and young people to explain the legal position relating to contact between brothers and sisters in different placements and who are subject to different legal orders.

Adopted Adults

If you are an adopted adult you may have questions about your birth history or birth family. You can find out more:

For Adoptive Parents

Many adopters are entitled to adoption leave and pay when their child is placed with them www.gov.uk/adoption-pay-leave. The law is changing to make this entitlement more similar to maternity and paternity leave pay, and it will include the right to take time off when you are meeting your child, before they move in with you.

Adopters may have priority for council housing www.gov.uk/council-housing. If you are living in council housing and claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit while waiting for a child to move in you can also apply for funding (Discretionary Housing Payments) so that you are not penalized financially while you have an empty spare room.

You are also entitled to a summary of your child’s health from his or her local authority medical advisor before he or she is placed with you, and to a life-story book to help your child understand his or her early life.

You are also entitled to a summary of your child’s health from his or her local authority medical advisor before he or she is placed with you, and to a life-story book to help your child understand his or her early life.

There are a number of parenting skills courses that enable adoptive parents to learn new strategies for helping children who are finding it difficult to manage family life. The aim of such courses is to provide strategies to improve the relationship between parent and child and make the child more co-operative with the parents. Although some of the strategies may sound familiar, when you can discuss ideas in the group and benefit from the videos and other materials, parents often find a new and helpful perspective. Adopters also have really appreciated the opportunity to work alongside other adopters who understand each other’s situation and can be very supportive. Some courses run weekly for some weeks and some are over several days.

Parenting Skills Courses for Adopters include:

  • Parenting our Children is Adoption UK’s a new parenting programme that replaces ‘It’s a Piece of Cake’. It has been developed by Adoption UK and Family Futures and is delivered nationwide.
  • SafeBase is a therapeutic parenting programme run by After Adoption. It is Provided to adopters in the North Wales Adoption Service.

There may be other parenting courses available that your regional adoption collaborative can advise you about.

For Adopted Children

For adopted children in education

Schools are asked to give all children adopted from care priority access which means that your child should be able to attend whichever school you think best meets their needs. Guidance on school admissions can be found at:
https://www.adoptionuk.org/getting-it-right-for-every-child

There will also be funding within the local education consortia to help your child’s school understand and meet any additional needs which your child has. This is through the Pupil Deprivation Grant and more information can be found at:
http://learning.gov.wales/news/sitenews/pupil-deprivation-grant-proposals-affecting-looked-after-children/?lang=en

If you feel your child needs extra support as a result of their adoption, you have the right to have an assessment of adoption support needs. If you think your child might have special educational needs you can ask your local authority to assess these needs too.

Support groups for adopted children

There are support groups for children and young people run by Adoption UK and called 'Connected'. They provide opportunities to meet with other adopted children, have fun activities as well as talk about common experiences. Contact Adoption UK for groups in your area. Alternatively you may contact your regional adoption service where you live.

Click here to view the Connect website

Who should I ask for support?

Select a region

Results for your nearest agency

North Wales Adoption Service

01978 295311 or 0800 085 0774
adoption@wrexham.gov.uk

Adoption Mid and West Wales

01267 246970 or Powys 01874 614035
adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

Western Bay Adoption Service

0300 365 2222
enquiries@westernbayadoption.org

Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Adoption

0800 023 4064
adoption@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk

South East Wales Adoption Service

01495 355766
adoption@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

St David's Adoption Service

029 20667007
info@stdavidscs.org

Barnados's Cymru

029 20484316
bcafs-south@barnardos.org.uk

Advice on Available Support

We know that getting the right support when you need it can make a big difference to a family struggling with adoption related issues. This website tells you about the support that you can expect to get in Wales after the adoption order is granted. You have some choices about where to go for support.

The National Adoption Service for Wales has developed a Framework for Adoption Support.  This Framework sets out our ambition to improve how adoptive families in Wales are supported and make it easier for the right help to be available when it is needed.  The current version of the Framework is available here.

In Wales the local authority Adoption Services work together in regional collaboratives. Some regional adoption collaboratives will be your first point of contact for adoption support and they will undertake an assessment of your adoption support needs. In other regions it will be local authority ‘intake and assessment’ teams who will undertake this assessment.

If you adopted through a Voluntary Adoption Agency such as St David’s or Barnardo’s you could also approach that agency to discuss the post adoption support services they may be able to offer.

Or, you may want to talk through your issues via the Adoption UK, Wales helpline . You are welcome to call to have an informal chat or to ask for information and advice. The Adoption UK help line focuses on the needs of adoptive families and the phone is usually answered by a trained adoptive parent. Please call 029 2023 0319  Monday to Friday 10am till 2.30pm. All new adopters in Wales are offered a year's membership of Adoption UK for free so if this applies to you and you haven't been offered this, please speak to Adoption UK or your agency.

AFA Cymru (The Association for Fostering and Adoption Cymru) also provide a helpline for professionals or members of the public.  They can be contacted on Cardiff 029 20761155 or Rhyl 01745 336336.  

Adoption Support Services

Becoming a parent will be rewarding, fulfilling and fun but sometimes tiring and demanding. Sometimes adopted children have additional needs and many adoptive families benefit from some help and advice at different stages in their family life.

Difficulties can arise from early experiences which influence your child’s behaviour at home or at school and you might want some advice or support to manage this.

Or maybe there are some aspects of being an adoptive family which other families don’t experience. For example adopted children often need help to understand their past, or may want to find out more about their birth family or contact arrangements.

Getting the adoption support you need for you and your family can be anything from joining a local adoption support group to having a social worker support you for a period of time or getting specialist therapeutic support for your child.

Some services may be provided without an assessment having to take place, for example, support groups or advice and information. Read on in the sections about: Advice on Available Support, For Adopted Children, For Adoptive Parents.

Other services may be provided following an assessment of need. During an assessment of your adoption support needs a social worker may make contact with other services that may be able to help such as health, Child and Adolescent mental Health Services and education.

An assessment may consider your need for the following services;-

  • Counselling, information and advice
  • Help with behavioural, attachment and other difficulties in adopted children
  • Financial support
  • Help with contact between an adopted child and his or her birth family
  • Meetings and events to enable groups of adopters, adoptive children or birth parents to get together
  • Training to help adopters to meet the needs of their adoptive child
  • Short breaks for an adopted child with another carer
  • Help where an adoption breaks down or is at risk of breaking down.

 

 

Taking the next step

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