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The Adopting Together Service: How innovative collaboration is meeting the needs of children in Wales waiting the longest to find a family

Shelton, Katherine ORCID:, Merchant, Coralie and Lynch, Jane ORCID: 2020. The Adopting Together Service: How innovative collaboration is meeting the needs of children in Wales waiting the longest to find a family. Adoption and Fostering 44 (2) , pp. 128-141. 10.1177/0308575920920390

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Significant concerns remain in many countries about the high numbers of children needing an adoptive placement relative to the low numbers of prospective adopters, the high level of long-term therapeutic support needs for many adopted children and their families, and whether there are appropriate services to meet them. There has been an increase in ‘priority’ children waiting over 12 months to find a family. These are often children aged four years and over, in care with siblings, with additional needs or developmental uncertainties and from minority ethnic backgrounds. The financial and emotional costs of long-term fostering when plans are changed are huge. This article describes a major development in child care practice in Wales that has occurred over the past two years. The Adopting Together Service (ATS) involves a unique, innovative and multi-layered collaboration between the voluntary adoption agencies (VAAs – non-governmental charities) and regional adoption teams (statutory agencies) to secure permanence for children who wait the longest to find families. It explains how the ATS has been developed and embedded, including an account of the referral process, the approach to recruitment, linking and matching, and therapeutic activity before, during and after placement. It also describes the process of securing sustainable social procurement under the guidance of the British Standard for Collaborative Working (ISO 44001; British Standard Institute, 2017), the creation of a Joint Relationship Management Plan between VAAs, and the implementation of service level agreements between the voluntary and statutory sectors. These developments are considered in the context of the Welsh Government’s implementation of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which lays out collaborative expectations to the statutory sector as one of its sustainable development principles. The article concludes with an initial evaluation of progress, noting challenges to the service and the views of the social workers, foster carers and adoptive parents involved.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: British Association of Adoption and Fostering
ISSN: 0308-5759
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 January 2020
Date of Acceptance: 28 January 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 16:03

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