In difficult and uncertain times, nothing is more important than community. Our members have risen to the challenges of the past weeks with immense creativity and optimism, and we'll continue working closely with them to ensure that children and families are supported no matter what.

We are currently hard at work making sure that our members are supported over the coming months. This has meant:

  • Writing to the Children’s Minister and the Secretary of State for Education regarding the challenges that our members are facing
  • Discussing options for supporting the voluntary adoption sector with officials at the Department for Education and with ADCS
  • Working with Children England to ensure that our members’ concerns are represented in their ask of the government
  • Working with the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board to ensure that changes to both regulations and the operating environment will help our members to continue delivering adoption placement and support services
  • Sending regular bulletins to our members to ensure that they are abreast of all changes, threats, and opportunities

We have been amazed and inspired by the flexibility and creativity that the VAAs have demonstrated. Almost overnight, it seems, information evenings, preparation training, group sessions, workshops, and even adoption support services have moved to digital platforms. Agencies have also volunteered a number of suggestions for temporary changes to both regulations and operations, to ensure that the system can continue to find safe and loving homes for adoptive children without delay. None of our members has stopped accepting enquiries or registrations of interest (ROIs), and all of our members are continuing to assess adopters and place children as best they can.

Our members are committed to the families and children that they serve and support. They are clear that any temporary measures which are brought in to ensure that adoption can go on must neither supersede good practice in the long term nor increase risk for children or families. However, they are also very clear that we must do whatever we can to ensure that children who cannot live with their birth families continue to be placed with well-prepared, well-supported adopters.

For us at CVAA, that includes ensuring that our members can keep their doors open throughout the current crisis and beyond. Whilst most of the sector’s staff is now working remotely and delivering a wide range of services digitally, we need to ensure that the financial pressure on agencies from slowed or halted placement activity does not undermine them to the extent that they cannot continue to operate. At the moment, this is our priority.

Our Practice Manager, Petra, is also working hard to deliver a significant proportion of our Practice Programme digitally. For now, we have postponed all March and April practice events to later this year. We are currently exploring alternative methods of delivering practice events remotely over the next few months to support practitioners' continuous professional development and will provide a revised Practice Programme 2020-21 shortly. There is keen appetite for this across our membership, and we are excited to see how we and our members can expand the delivery of our practice workshops and training events.