Why attend an Adoption Activity Day?
Adoption Activity Days extend the approach developed through the Adoption Exchange Days, giving adopters the opportunity to directly meet a range of children waiting to be adopted at a well prepared, supported and activity based event. The focus on the day is on providing a wide range of activities so that whatever else happens the children have a really enjoyable experience – as well as having the opportunity to meet families who are thinking of adoption and meeting other children like them who are waiting for an adoptive placement.
Although new to Scotland, this approach has become well established in England, with more than 70 events organised over the last 5 years. The Scottish Government have supported a pilot of Activity Days in Scotland and commissioned an independent evaluation of the first event.
Detailed information about the Scottish Pilot, the background to Activity Days and the way the days are organised and managed can be found in this Frequently Asked Questions document.
The evidence so far
The early results from the Scottish pilot have been very encouraging. Almost all those who attended felt that the children had thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the outcomes in terms of matching achieved are that a quarter of the children attending were matched with a family as a result. This corresponds almost exactly to the average matching rate achieved over the first 70 Adoption Activity Days held in England since 2011 and is a significantly higher matching rate than that achieved by any other approach to family finding.
The independent report into the first event commissioned by the Scottish Government and completed by Dr Chris Robinson can be viewed here: Dr Chris Robinson report
The collated feedback from the second pilot event provides equally positive findings along with helpful suggestions for ways the approach can be developed and improved.
Risks and benefits
There are clearly risks involved and very careful preparation is required, particularly with the older children, to manage their expectations of the event and ensure they don’t feel hurt of rejected if just the right family is not at the event they are attending.
The benefits that have been identified from the events held so far include:
- Children who sound difficult or complicated on paper can come across much more positively in person – the events help adopters to the see the child first.
- Children are matched who wouldn’t otherwise be found a family – there are many stories of positive matches being found where families are drawn to children they wouldn’t have expected to be the sort of children they could consider.
- By allowing the emotional response between the adopter and the child – the chemistry – to be taken into account in the matching process, there are some indications that people are more confident about the robustness of the match.
Applying to attend an Activity Day
Plans for future Activity Days will be made available – in the ‘News & Events’ tab – once the arrangements have been agreed for running these events beyond the completion of the pilot project.
Adopters who are keen to attend should speak to their agency so that a referral can be made.
Social workers are encouraged to consider the option of referral to an Adoption Activity Day as early as possible. Although the outcomes appear to be very good, it is important that enough time is available for the preparation work required with the children.
Staff at the Register are more than happy to discuss the possibility of children or adopters attending one of the events and to provide support to agencies, practitioners, adopters and foster carers who are considering attending.