[Last updated 08.20 Wednesday 25 March 2020]
We want to reassure you that Adopt South West is doing everything we can to plan and be prepared for what may be ahead of us, using the latest information. We are monitoring and adapting our guidelines and advice to staff and managers to respond to emerging issues and changes. We recognise that many families are going to really struggle within the next few weeks and the months ahead and as a team we are looking at how we can creatively support you.
As the situation develops we will increase our offer of virtual support, while keeping things running as normally as possible.
Virtual information sessions for people considering adoption
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are very sad to announce that face-to-face events have been cancelled until further notice. But… we are now holding information sessions virtually and our Business Support Team will be contacting people who are booked to take part in a virtual information session. Our Adopt South West Business Support colleagues will advise prospective adopters when they make their enquiries.
Adopt South West will continue to provide a service for you
We are looking at how we can support our adopters and offer virtual alternatives through webinars, online meetings, Skype and telephone calls – some facilitated by us and some by therapists we work closely with.
Birth families and adopted children
We are looking closely at how we can support contacts between birth family and their adopted children in these challenging and ever-changing time because we recognise how important it is for the child to have this contact with their birth family.
At the time of this update (25 March 2020) our main offices for managing these exchanges (Follaton House and Electric House) are closed to the public and the post room is also closed. This means that any letters sent to the letterbox service will remain in the post room and we will be unable to access them until circumstances change. At this time we don’t know when we will be able to access these letters but we can reassure you that the letters are kept in a secure and confidential place.
Our letterbox coordinators are going through all of the forthcoming contacts to assess whether we are able to facilitate the exchange at this time. However, it is extremely likely that there will be a significant delay in the exchanges at this time and unfortunately at the moment we are unable to say how long the delay will be for. We will also be unable to facilitate view-only photos at this time.
To help us facilitate an exchange please email the Adopt South West letterbox, with your name and address to: email@example.com so that we can confirm your up-to-date email address and as such may be able to facilitate an email exchange.
Unfortunately, due to the latest guidance from the government we are unable to supervise any direct contacts between birth family and adopted children at this time but we will be discussing this with the people involved to see if there is any other way of enabling some form of contact between the child and the birth family.
Telephone advice and support line
We are extending our advice and support line opening times from Monday 23 March, so the lines will now be open from 9.00am-4.00pm Monday -Friday, and we have additional staff to help with any increase in the volume of calls we receive until further notice. Remember you can call us on 0345 155 1076.
There is also a requirement to cancel some family events and planned training. We are in the process of contacting parents which are directly affected by any cancellations of any of our events. Please be prepared that we may limit some services while we focus on safeguarding our children at this difficult time.
A number of therapists and organisations that deliver therapeutic support to our families have also been in touch because some face-to-face therapy is put on hold. Some therapists are able to offer alternatives, such as Skype and phone calls. So, if you are worried about how this impacts you and your family, please do contact the therapist/provider directly in the first place. The Adoption Support Fund has been in contact and are offering more flexibility as to how therapies are delivered, where possible.
We are contacting parents who are directly affected by any cancellations.
Cancellation of events and courses
- Family Farm Days (all days)
- Music and Mindfulness Sessions (all locations)
- Art Day
- RIO group (all sessions)
- Easter and May half term events (all events), including the Bear Trail on Saturday 16 May
- Therapeutic Parenting Course – South Devon, due to start on Tuesday 21 April
- Beyond Attachment Workshop – presented by Plymouth Virtual School on Thursday 7 May
- Theraplay Workshops (all workshops).
We are also sending some advice about how parents can support children who will be struggling with anxiety, lack of structure and routine, and how parents can remain calm and regulated in these uncertain times.
Please take good care of yourselves and stay safe.
Adopt South West