Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer highlights the issues affecting adoptive families in the UK today
The majority of adopted, fostered and SGO children have suffered abuse in infancy. They have been removed from their birth families because of “significant harm”. Sadly, this significant harm has already impaired the child’s brain development, leaving them hardwired for anxiety and affecting their ability to regulate emotions.
As an adoptive mother said this week in a recent Channel 4 news film: “Children who have been neglected, who have been to hell and back, and are trying to grow up, have overwhelming feelings and they don’t know what to do with them. They can’t put them into words.” In the majority of cases with adopted, fostered and SGO children, we know from our experience that Child on Parent violence (CPV) is a consequence of early child abuse and neglect, and needs a robust therapeutic response from placing agencies. The government should prioritise the Adoption Support Fund to fund long-term therapy for every child placed for adoption to address the problems these damaged children now face and to give them a chance in life. If the family’s whole network, including the school, understand the impact of trauma and form a team of support around each child, families affected by CPV will start to get the understanding and support they desperately need.
Dr Raja Mukherjee runs our first FASD clinic for families in treatment at Family Futures
We’re very pleased to be pioneering a Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) consultation & advice service for families in treatment here, in collaboration with Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. FASD is a ‘hidden epidemic’ affecting at least 2 out of every 100 people in the UK and around three quarters of looked after children are thought to be at risk. More awareness and support is needed for those suffering from the lifelong brain damage and symptoms of FASD, often currently misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Our new consultation service is run by Dr Raja Mukherjee, a consultant psychiatrist and internationally acclaimed expert in FASD.
Watch the latest video in our Helping Families Heal series
We’re delighted to share the latest video in our Helping Families Heal series, hosted by a parent who has adopted a child through Family Futures. How Theraplay® helps children who have experienced complex trauma is discussed with Sarah Kerrigan who is a Senior Dramatherapist at Family Futures and Theraplay Practitioner in training with intermediate status. Watch Sarah demonstrate some Theraplay games in a role play and answer questions adoptive parents have about how assessments and sessions work, how you can integrate Theraplay into your home routine and tips on finding a Theraplay practitioner for your family. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to see our other videos and let us know your comments.
Do you feel able to provide a home for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children in the care system?
We’re holding an Information Evening on Wednesday 5 June from 7pm-8pm at Family Futures. Come along and find out more about the adoption process and how we can support you in caring for a child who has had a traumatic start in life to give them a better future. We can discuss any questions you may have about adopting a child, or you can also call us between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Thursday to speak to one of our team. Find out more about adopting a child with Family Futures here
“Prospective adopters receive outstanding support and guidance from dedicated workers throughout the adoption process.” Ofsted 2018
Please email us to let us know if you are coming to the Information Evening.
Inquiry into ASF invites responses from adoptees, adopters, social workers, agencies, LAs & support providers
The new All-Party Parliamentary Group for Adoption and Permanence has set up an inquiry to consider the future of the Adoption Support Fund (ASF), examining the role it has played in supporting children and families engaged in adoption and special guardianship arrangements.
The inquiry will focus on:
- the accessibility of the ASF, including timings and the application process
- types of support accessed and gaps in support provision
- long and short-term impacts of support accessed through the fund
The group will examine evidence presented covering these areas and make recommendations to Government around the future of post adoption support.
Please share your views via this survey link which also includes a separate survey for young people to complete. The inquiry is inviting responses from adoptees, adopters, social workers, agencies, LAs & support providers (deadline 24 April at 12pm).
Are you working with adopted or looked after children?
We still have spaces on our Therapeutic Life Story Work course running 23 to 25 April. This professional development training will give you a framework and the confidence to address difficult issues from the past with traumatised children. The course will also give you the ability to use non-verbal and creative arts to help children express difficult and complex feelings, plus guidance on how to use life story work to support facilitated contact.
Find out more about our professional development training here.
We are very pleased to be launching our Helping Families Heal series of videos, hosted by a parent who has adopted a child through Family Futures. In this first video, Dr Dan Hughes, Clinical Psychologist and founder of DDP (Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy) gives his thoughts and suggestions on some of the trickiest questions for adopters today:
Should you let sleeping dogs lie?…Is there a danger of ‘putting ideas into their heads’ if you talk to a child about their past? Especially where a child’s trauma was very early on, pre-verbal and the child has no actual memories.
What about children for whom talking about emotions is a trigger?
Other questions Dan addresses here include:
What about children who are shut down?
How can parents and carers work with schools…help their child make friends…get beyond ‘blocked care’?
Can sensory integration intervention help?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our upcoming videos in the series and please share with adopters, carers and professionals you know.
Family Futures 2019 training – now available to book online
Parent education training can be funded by the Adoption Support Fund. You need to make an application through your local authority adoption support service for this funding. If you have any queries about booking training, please contact Claire on 020 7354 4161 or email us.
14, 15, 16 & 30 May 2019
For social workers, therapists and psychologists
4 to 7 February 2019
For therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers. Dr Dan Hughes will deliver this training on his treatment model which involves working with a child and their family to improve attachment relationships.
Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Level One
11 to 14 November 2019 Trainer: Dr Dan Hughes
Trainers are UK-based & Certified Theraplay therapists, supervisors and trainers. Theraplay courses are for psychologists and psychiatrists, occupational therapists, social workers, speech and language therapists, counsellors, adoption and post-adoption counsellors, family therapists, early childhood & developmental specialists and teachers.
Theraplay Level One and Group Theraplay
1 to 5 April 2019
2 to 3 May 2019
Theraplay Level Two
25 to 27 November 2019
23 to 25 April 2019
For social workers working with adopted and Looked After children
Social workers in Looked After children, fostering and adoption teams; adoption and fostering team managers; clinical psychologists, paediatric occupational therapists, therapists, solicitors, panel members, adoption support agency service providers, psychiatrists, paediatricians and teachers
For adoptive parents, prospective adopters awaiting placements, foster carers, social workers (Adoption, Fostering), teachers, health visitors, parents of abused/traumatised children.
Contacting Family Futures over Christmas
Family Futures is closed from 5pm on Friday 21st December 2018 to 9am on Tuesday 2nd January 2019. If you are a family in treatment with Family Futures and have a serious emergency or crisis during this time and you think that the crisis requires the emergency services, we suggest you call them first. You can then ring into Family Futures on the main number 0207 354 4161. On the days when the office is closed a Duty Manager is available between 10am and 5pm. On working days you can contact a Duty Manager between 5 – 9 pm. If when you ring in, you then press 3 as instructed on the answerphone message, it will divert your call to the Duty manager’s mobile. Please leave a message with your name, number and why you are calling and the Duty Manager will call you back as soon as possible. We hope however that you have an enjoyable Christmas and New Year.
Our Occupational Therapy Team have put together some ideas for sensory activities with children and tips for the festive season
Family Futures Sensory Christmas activities
Create a sensory Christmas bottle with your child
Spotting the hidden items can have a calming effect at night time.
Fill a plastic bottle with glitter glue (1/3) and add some small beads, stars, glitter, letters, marbles, small plastic animals etc. Fill it up with water. Use hot glue to shut the lid.
Make your own decoration
Great to encourage fine motor and praxis skills, and the pipe cleaners provide tactile stimulation.
You will need: Various beads and pipe cleaners. Place three pipe cleaner strands overlapping. Fix them in the middle with a small piece of pipe cleaner. Parents can also prepare the star shapes and help their children. Have fun putting the beads on the rays. Encourage the child to work in patterns. Tie an additional thread around it and decorate your tree or your room with it!