Norfolk County Council launches adoption programme to improve children’s lives

Norfolk County Council. County Hall. Photo : Steve Adams

Norfolk County Council. County Hall. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

Foster carers and adopters in Norfolk are working closely together as part of a pilot project to support children who are moving from foster care to adoption.

Norfolk County Council is partnering with the University of East Anglia (UEA) on the project, which supports practice that prioritises the child's emotional needs, whilst also supporting the foster carers and adopters.

The project, called Moving to Adoption, suggests that foster carers and adopters spend time together as a child approaches adoption, giving adopters the chance to better understand the child's needs and ensure the child has the right support as they move to their new home.

UEA has developed a special checklist for foster carers to complete, detailing important information about the child's emotional needs, such as how they might show, or conceal their feelings if they are angry or anxious. This information is then passed on to the new family so that they can better recognise how the child communicates and can plan better for their arrival.

It is proposed that the timescales and arrangements for children's moves should be variable and individually tailored to the child's needs.

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Penny Carpenter, Chairman of the Children's Services Committee at Norfolk County Council, said: 'When a child moves from foster care to live with their new family it can be an extremely anxious time, full of doubt and expectation.

'This is an innovative way of gently easing in the adoptive parents , so that we a have smooth transition for the child and the new parents feel fully supported.

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'The new working gives adopters the chance to work much more closely with the child's foster carers and to really understand the child's needs before they join their family.

'By working with UEA we know that the new approach will be well-researched and evaluated so that we can see what works well and develop what we do further to get the very best for Norfolk's children.'

It is hoped that the new practice will further reduce the rate of adoptions that disrupt.

A report on the project will be published in August 2018.

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