Stability Part 2: The Role of the System

Our desire is for children and young people not just to experience initial stability, but ongoing security, safety and love with relationships that remain consistent and ongoing in their lives.

During the month of September, we have been exploring the theme of stability. In Part 1 of this article series, we explored why stability is important for vulnerable children and young people and the significant role that the Church can play in enabling this.

We recognise that there are systemic patterns and practices that can hinder children from experiencing stability, and that decisionmakers and people of influence often hold the keys to unlocking these challenges. That is why a core element of our work at Home for Good is to pursue systemic change at a political and national level. By engaging with decisionmakers and those in the corridors of power across the UK, we are working to achieve our vision of a loving and stable home for every child who needs one.

As part of this work, Home for Good works with our friends at Adoption UK to run the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Adoption and Permanence (APPGAP). The aim of the group is to amplify the voices of adopted young people and their families so that they are heard by those with power to effect tangible and robust change. Last week, the APPGAP published a new report called Strengthening Families: Improving Stability for Adopted Children. The report follows a 3-month inquiry that set out to examine some of the key stages of the adoption journey where stability is most at risk, and therefore where action is most needed.

The term ‘stability’ is used to signify both the short- and long-term experiences of consistency and continuity that enable children and young people to feel safe and to heal from the impact that trauma has had on their lives.

Strengthening Families report, page 6

Conducted to feed into the Review of Children’s Social Care in England, the inquiry gathered the views of over 800 adopted children and young people, adopted adults, adoptive parents, social workers and organisations about the changes that are needed in the system to improve the experiences of adopted children and their families.

None of us can underestimate the value of a loving, stable family and adoption plays a huge part in that. It’s so important that adoptive families have the best possible experience of adoption and that prospective adopters from all walks of life are able to provide safe, loving homes for children who need them.

– Vicky Ford MP, former Minister for Children and Families, speaking at the launch of the report.

Having heard about the many ways in which adopted children can experience instability in their journeys, the Strengthening Families report identifies several principles for stability that, if applied robustly, we believe could shift the experiences of adopted children and their families for the better. The report sets out a number of recommendations about changes the Government, Local Authorities, and agencies can make to enable greater stability for children. In what follows, we will examine three of the changes that the APPG and Home for Good are calling for.

1. Guarantee the long-term retention of the Adoption Support Fund

    Adoptive families should be able to access the Adoption Support Fund at any point along their journey and not only at crisis points; this is crucial for enabling long-term stability for families. Our Home for Good enquiry line hears daily about some of the challenges that adoptive families are facing, and we know that support accessed through the ASF can be life-changing. In inspiring and calling people to consider opening their homes to vulnerable children, we want them to be confident that support will be there every step of the way.

    2. Identify children who wait the longest

      We think every Local Authority should have a published strategy on how they identify children who are likely to wait longer for adoption, as well as a clear process for how they will seek to match these children with a family in a timely way. As we work to find a home for every child who needs one, we particularly focus our efforts on finding homes for children who wait the longest. The implementation of such a strategy would significantly help to reduce the time that children wait.

      3. Assess and maintain existing positive relationships

      Thirdly, professionals and families should assess the existing positive relationships that a child has with individuals from their wider peer network and local community, and should seek to maintain these links where possible. Facilitating a continuity of relationships for children is a critical part of ensuring that they experience stability. We hear countless stories of the positive impact of peer networks and communities as they wraparound children and families, providing invaluable support and care.

      We strongly believe that the implementation of the recommendations we have outlined in the report (see pages 61-65) will enable greater stability for adopted children and their families, and will ultimately see them flourish and thrive. Although the report is specifically focused on adoption, many of the recommendations and principles for stability can also be applied more broadly across the care system. In addition, although this article discusses some of our recent work in England, Home for Good is committed to bringing about systemic change in all four nations of the UK.

      We at Home for Good long to see a care system that prioritises love, stability, and safety for children; a system that is able to meet the needs of each individual child through the social workers, foster carers, adopters, special guardians and kinship carers who provide invaluable love, support, care, and stability for children, many of whom have experienced high levels of instability. We will not stop working until we achieve our vision of a care system where children are thriving within homes that are havens and where every child always has a family or tribe by their side.

      To find out more, please read the Strengthening Families report here.

      If you live in England, we'd love you to help us in spreading the word about the report in Parliament. Could you write to your MP to ask them to the support the APPG in speaking up for adopted children and seeing these recommendations come to fruition? You can do this quickly and easily (less than 2 minutes!) through our webpage here - make sure you select the "APPG Report" template.

      Author:
      Rebecca at Home for Good


      Date published:
      30 September 2021


      Tags:
      Articles


      Share:


      Related pages

      APPG for Adoption and Permanence publishes new report on stability

      APPG for Adoption and Permanence publishes new report on stability

      Today, the APPG for Adoption and Permanence has published its latest report; Strengthening Families: Improving stability for adopted children.

      Read more
      Stability Part 1: The role the Church can play

      Stability Part 1: The role the Church can play

      This month, we’re focusing on the theme of stability. Our desire is for children and young people not just to experience initial stability, but ongoing security, safety and love with relationships that remain consistent and ongoing in their lives.

      Read more

      You might also be interested in

      Through thick and thin: reflections from an adoptive mum

      Articles

      Through thick and thin: reflections from an adoptive mum

      An adoptive mum shares how she journeys with her children and finds precious connections, even in those harder moments.

      Read more
      A passion for welcome

      Stories

      A passion for welcome

      An adoptive parent shares their story of welcome and hospitality

      Read more
      Introducing Seth Pinnock

      Stories

      Introducing Seth Pinnock

      There are some things that might not make sense to us in the here and now, but when we look back in retrospect it becomes clear that they were part of something bigger.

      Read more
      Stability Part 1: The role the Church can play

      Articles

      Stability Part 1: The role the Church can play

      This month, we’re focusing on the theme of stability. Our desire is for children and young people not just to experience initial stability, but ongoing security, safety and love with relationships that remain consistent and ongoing in their lives.

      Read more

      Connect locally

      I would like to find out what is
      going on in my area

      Connect Locally

      Keep up-to-date

      I would like to stay up-to-date with Home for Good's news and how
      I can give, pray and get involved to help vulnerable children.

      Home for Good will never pass on your details to third parties for marketing purposes and you can unsubscribe from our communications at anytime by emailing [email protected].

      reCAPTCHA helps prevent automated form spam.