To consider a report by the Director of Children’s Services which sets out details of the Adopted Teens identity group (AT_iD group) and the view of children and young people who are adopted.
The report also explains the initial plans for ensuring that children and young people have a voice and influence over decisions that affect their lives and the adoption services they access.
The Director of Children’s Services submitted a report which set out details of the work undertaken by One Adoption West Yorkshire to ensure that the voice and influence of children and young people was at the heart of the adoption service.
The report provided details about the Adopted Teens Identity Group (AT_iD), a project set up by the Yorkshire & Humber adoption consortium with a vision of offering adopted teenagers the opportunity to express their views over the development of the adoption service and the services they accessed.
Members noted the project was overseen by PAC/UK who employ a child & family project worker to oversee the development of the group which included:
· AT-iD Website - open to anyone, offering useful information & insight into the experiences of adopted teenagers
· Online Chat Forum – A safe online space where adoptees could talk, share, rant, giggle and support each other. Members can also ask questions or seek support from the project workers via the chat forum
· Activity Days – providing an opportunity to make new friends and make new memories. They are held 4 times a year and participants get to have a say in what the group does
· Youth Council – for those who are looking to get more involved and make a difference in adoption, members aged 13+ can join our panel and attend workshops with the aim of using views and experiences to help professionals and policy makers.
Members were informed that in 2014 “After Adoption” brought together groups of young people on its national TalkAdoption programmes along with the AT-ID group in Leeds to get a national picture of the needs and expectations of adopted young people. “The Big Consult” was published in 2016 and is attached at Appendix 1 of the submitted report.
Members were made aware that in 2016 the AT_iD group made a film about adopted young people “Voices of Adopted Teens” The film talks about their experiences of being adopted and is used to raise awareness with prospective adopters; professionals and to share nationally with other Regional Adoption Agencies the views and experience of young people who are adopted.
The film “Voices of Adopted Teens” was viewed by the Committee.
Members welcomed the film commenting that it sent out a powerful message.
A discussion ensued about some of the themes covered in the film: making contact with birth parents, a child/ young person deciding for themselves about if they wanted others to know they are adopted and, as an adopted child, they did not want to be treated differently.
Reference was made to “open adoption” the Head of Service explained that this was where a child lives with adopted parents but occasionally meets with birth parents so the child has regular contact with their birth family. Members were informed this was agreed on an individual basis depending upon the circumstances and needs of each child.
In drawing the discussion to a conclusion the Chair reiterated the comments made earlier that the film did send out a very powerful but positive message.
The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions.
Members requested if “outcome statistics” for adopted children could be circulated to the Committee and a report be brought back to a future meeting focusing on the outcomes for adopted children, including education.
(i) To note the information provided by the AT-ID group.
(ii) To support the continued work of the agency in encouraging the voice and influence of adopted children and young people.
(iii) That a report be brought back to a future meeting focusing on the outcomes for children adopted including educational outcomes.