The recruitment and assessment of prospective adopters poses a big challenge for everyone involved. A social worker’s starting position can often feel like fitting a square peg into a round hole. Providing a platform for practise sharing, on the 30th October 2019, CVAA hosted a workshop with Coram in London, which was designed for practitioners and managers with responsibility for assessing and preparing prospective adopters - to help them explore with peers the key themes and challenges.

On the day, CVAA welcomed twenty-three delegates from Action for Children, Adoption Matters, Birmingham Children’s Trust, CCS Adoption, Faith in Families, IAC, PACT, Scottish Adoption and SSAFA. After a short introduction and a welcome, Petra Jodlova (Practice Development Manager, CVAA) presented the most recent ASGLB data and relevant research that has been conducted on the topic of assessing and matching adopters.

After Petra’s presentation, delegates heard from Yvette Cort (Adoption Manager, Coram) and Jo Larsson (Adoption Senior Practitioner, Coram) about changes to their assessment framework over the last year and a half and discussed the reasons for the review.

Jo Larsson said: “[…] it is a real privilege and it gives me chills to be sitting in the room with so much knowledge and experience.”

Yvette and Jo expanded on their case discussion programme: All of their assessments were subject to this process and it was seen as collaborative and useful with a vision to making assessments more robust. They also discussed a psychodynamic approach moving into a more systemic view with parenting capacity as a focus.

After lunch, delegates had a chance to discuss in groups topics that they identified as pressing in the morning brainstorming session. The group discussions covered challenges concerning; matching with siblings, a need for reading materials and resources in other languages, unclear policies concerning medical advice, how social workers overcome constraints in adoption regulations in certain assessments, the role of VAAs in RAAs, what should the core criteria be for applicants and what should be the focus and more.

Delegates said: “[..] I really enjoyed meeting other professionals from the voluntary sector as I am fairly new to this area. The venue was lovely too!”

“[I enjoyed...] learning how other agencies interpret the same legislation and regulations, tools used by other agencies. [I enjoyed…] hearing about challenges, an opportunity to reflect on practice and networking.”

83% of delegates who submitted their feedback said that they were going to return to their agency with knowledge, tools and ideas which would inform future practice. 100% of delegate who submitted their feedback said that they would recommend CVAA practice events to a colleague.

Would you like to attend one of our workshops? Check our upcoming events here.