Just a quick post to update on the Adoption Leadership Board(ALB) meeting that I was privileged to attend today. It's the culmination of a little tinkering of the consultation process that the DfE has undertaken following consultation with interested parties.
An Adopter Reference Group (ARG) has been formed out of what was the Adoption Service User Group all facilitated by Adopter Voice. The ARG has been asked to have a more informed input into the ALB and to facilitate that they get pre warning of the upcoming agenda and asked to comment and reflect on it. That is then taken to the next ALB by one of the adopters on the ARG. Today that was me.
Of course the contents of the meeting is tricky to report back, some of it is all ideas and tinkering with the machinery of reporting, accountability and systems. Much of which is complex and a work in progress, it's hard to comment on due to the nature of the discussions and confidentiality.
Adopters views were expressed in relation to the Fair Access limit on the Adoption Support Fund, (there are a lot of views). Thoughts on recruitment and wider issues were shared and the ongoing challenges that many families face with education were raised. That's all well and good and a little bit vague and sycophantic, sorry.
Here's what I can tell you. Adopters have a seat at the top table.
Sitting in that room with a range of professionals, heads of this and leaders of that was the genuine sense of passionate individuals that wanted to see the needs of children best served. How we do that is debatable and there are often varying opinions as to how to achieve that but wasn't it ever so. I was also aware that among those professionals there were adults with intimate connections to adoption and fostering from different sides, this may be their job but it's also their passion. No names.
What do I take away from this meeting?Adopters are the primary advocates for our children and we've been given the opportunity to influence and speak into policy and practice at the highest level. Challenges remain but the work of getting adopters into that room has been completed.
We now face our own challenges as we now consider how we synthesise our spectrum of views to inform those that are listening. Not easy and of course we will never please everyone.