This week Adoption UK was lucky enough to be invited by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) to give expert testimony to one of its committees. 

The committee was meeting to revise guidance on looked after children which helps organisations, professionals and carers to deliver high-quality care, stable placements and nurturing relationships for looked after children and young people. It aims to help these children and young people reach their full potential and enjoy the same opportunities in life as their peers.  

A pretty important job, I’m sure you’ll agree. 

Adoption UK was invited to offer the perspective of adoptive parents on the transition from care into adoption and jumped at the chance to contribute. 

A central part of our mission is to champion the experience and expertise of adopters and the wider adoption community wherever possible. We believe that the only way to achieve the best possible outcomes for adopted children and their families is by harvesting their lived experience and wisdom, and utilising it to continuously improve the system. To borrow a phrase: “nothing for us without us. 

Adoption UK has been pioneering this type of participatory and co-development approach for some time, most visibly through our Adopter Voice programme. It enables adopters to contribute to the development of adoption services at local, regional and national levels, and is delivered by a network of advocates and adopter champions. 

We could have talked all day about that pivotal transition for children as they move from the care system and into their adoptive family, and how best to support families at this stage. But brevity was the order of the day, so we highlighted four crucial areas which need to be improved to strengthen the support for adoptive families in the early days: 

  • The need for a charter of rights for adopters - so all families know their rights to support and feel adequately empowered to exercise those rights. Watch this space . . .  
  • Dispelling the myth that an adoption order erases a child’s trauma and ensuring we get support to families as early as possible, rather than waiting until crisis ensues and problems are harder to solve 
  • Centralise the voice of adopters and adopted people, to ensure services are informed by those they are designed to serve 
  • And finally, providing peer support as a universal support measure to assist all starting their adoption journey to learn alongside others who have trod the same path 

You can be sure that Adoption UK will continue to collect the views and experiences of adoptive families and harness your expertise to influence the policies and practices which affect you. We are committed, now more than ever, to amplifying your voices to deliver meaningful change for families.