Department for Education
Adoption Reform Update – November 2013



This month’s bulletin includes information about the new Social Worker Training Curriculum Guide and news about the latest Adoption Maps to be published by the Department next month. We also have updates from First4Adoption and The Adoption Register and we congratulate all the winners from the National Adoption Week Awards.

Social Worker Training Curriculum Guide

• On 14 November 2013, The College of Social Work launched a new continuing professional development training guide which is designed to improve and standardise social worker training in fostering and adoption.

• The new “Curriculum Framework for CPD and Supporting Professional Development” is designed to be a tool for educators and trainers and should be used by local authorities, higher education institutions and any other agencies providing fostering and adoption training for social workers. The guide was drafted by social work experts Professor Gillian Schofield and John Simmonds with input from a wide consultation group of fostering and adoption professionals and service users.

• The Guide can be downloaded at:

• In tandem, The College is developing specialist capability statements for adoption and fostering, to support the generic Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) and improve professional practice. It is envisaged that the statements will start at Assessed & Supported Year in Employment level on the PCF and will set out how capability in adoption and fostering would be evidenced in the nine domains of the PCF. The statements will then look at the social worker, experienced, advanced and principal social worker levels on the PCF and set out how capability builds throughout the career levels. The College are aiming to publish the statements on their website in early 2014.

• This work will be embedded through the development of new training materials on fostering and adoption designed specifically for social workers. Further details will be provided in December’s update.

Adoption Maps

• At the beginning of December the Department will publish the latest adoption maps. The maps will be hosted on the First4Adoption website and form a new digital resource for potential and prospective adopters providing information about local authority and voluntary agency adoption (VAA) services. The maps are based on local authority data collected by DfE and Ofsted for the year up to 31 March 2013. This year they will also include information on adopters recruited by VAAs and so give a much more accurate picture of the local and national challenge.

• There are fewer maps than were previously published and the primary aim of the maps is to act as a recruitment tool:

(a) presenting the latest information to potential adopters through First4Adoption to help them to decide whether to register to become an adopter; and

(b) helping the media focus in on the gap between the number of children waiting and the number of adopters.

• The maps should also help to empower prospective and approved adopters by providing information about the children available for adoption. The maps will, in addition, provide information on the national parts of the adoption infrastructure (specifically, the adoption register and the VAA sector).

• We will be working closely with stakeholders to publicise this resource including lots of ‘tweeting’ to help you raise awareness of this new resource.

Update From First4Adoption


• First4Adoption (F4A) has now updated the agency finder tool on the F4A website. It has been updated to work on adoption agencies areas of coverage rather than the distance from the agency’s head office. If you have not supplied F4A with the list of postcodes you cover this might not be working as well as it can for your agency – please send F4A your list of postcodes.

• First4Adoption has added content to the site about who are the children, with a specific feature on sibling groups for National Adoption Week (thank you to DFW Adoption for the case study). F4A will be adding content shortly on older children – so if any agencies have a good case study, please let F4A know.

• First4Adoption has produced a step-by-step guide for prospective adopters about becoming an adopter . F4A encourages all agencies to give these out to prospective adopters.


• Thank you to those agencies that have indicated they wanted to be part of the e-learning working group. F4A is busily working on both the technical build of the e-learning modules platform and establishing what could be covered within the e-learning modules to support both adoption agencies and prospective adopters in Stage One.

• F4A is currently exploring what methods currently work well for adoption agencies in relation to training within Stage One. If your agency has any good practice they wish to share with F4A, please get in touch with .

• The whole package of e-learning modules will be available before 31st March 2014. We are exploring whether we can release the next module before then.

Call Fulfillment

• Call fulfillment is a free service from First4Adoption in which they deal with your initial telephone enquiries on your behalf. They set up a specific number for your agency or consortium so they know which agency or consortium is being called and can answer it with a greeting agreed with you. First4Adoption is now taking calls for Being Family (Yorkshire and Humber consortium) and West London Adoption and Permanence Consortium. If you are interested in First4Adoption handling your calls please contact .

Update from the Adoption Register

Matches and referrals

• 228 children from England have been matched through links identified by the Register in the first half of this year which is the highest ever for this period and an increase of almost 37% on the same period last year. This number included 96 children in sibling groups of which there were 6 groups of 3.

• The number of children referred to the Register has risen by 9% and the number of adopter referrals has increased by 28% on the corresponding period last year. The increase in the number of adopters referred is very encouraging and follows regulatory changes that came into force in July 2013 which now require agencies to refer prospective adopters, with their consent, to the Register as soon as possible and no later than 3 months from approval. The Register has been working closely with agencies to ensure all adopters who should be on the Register are referred and the number of adopters referred in October was the highest monthly figure for 5 years.

Adoption Exchange days

• These events continue to be oversubscribed by agencies wanting to profile children and to attract significant numbers of adopters. The first two events of this year have seen 40 children placed and we will be holding three more in the coming months:

December 2013 – Walsall

January 2014 – London

March 2014 - Bolton


• For information on referring children and adopters and exchange days please visit the Register website or telephone 0845 450 3931. Full details about the operation and performance of the Register can be found in Adoption Register’s latest Annual Report 2012/13

BAAF Training Update

• DfE has contracted with BAAF to run free seminars to support the adoption reform programme. A limited number of places will be available at each of these sessions to all adoption agencies and adoption support agencies in England.

• The second tranche of training will be run between November and January and will focus on the use of Fostering for Adoption and Concurrency and their place in planning permanence for children. It is suggested that to make best use of these sessions local authorities use their 2 free places to send a manager from their adoption or fostering and childcare teams who can take the materials and learning and disseminate them back into their agency.

• These seminars are booking now with early dates booking fast –

Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 – BAAF Birmingham Office - Now fully booked

Tuesday 26th Nov 2013 – The Heatons, Manchester - Now fully booked

Wednesday 27th Nov 2013 – London - Now fully booked

Monday 2nd Dec 2013 – CCS, Bristol

Tuesday 10th Dec 2013 – BAAF Leeds Office

Wednesday 11th Dec 2013 – BAAF Newcastle Office

Friday 13th Dec 2013 – BAAF Birmingham Office

Thursday 19th Dec 2013 – BAAF London Office - Now fully booked

Thursday 19th Dec 2013 – The Heatons, Manchester

Monday 13th Jan 2014 – BAAF London Office- Now fully booked

Tuesday 14th Jan 2014 – The Heatons, Manchester

Monday 20th Jan 2014 – CCS, Bristol

Wednesday 22nd Jan 2014 – BAAF Leeds Office

Wednesday 22nd Jan 2014 – BAAF Birmingham Office

Tuesday 28th Jan 2014 – BAAF London Office - Now fully booked

Wednesday 29th Jan 2014 – BAAF Newcastle Office

• Details and registration forms can be found on the BAAF website at  and any enquiries should be sent to

Adoption and Fostering on NHS Choices Website

• The NHS Choices website now carries advice and guidance on adoption and fostering. These pages are aimed at members of the public and cover a range of information about the adoption procedure; post-adoption support and, education and health issues for adopted children.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): Guidelines for Children’s attachment

• The Department for Health and the Department for Education have commissioned NICE to develop guidance on the attachment and related therapeutic needs of looked-after children and children adopted from care (see ).

• As you know, this is an area the Department is committed to improving. We would like to encourage you to get involved by registering with NICE as an interested stakeholder. This will ensure you have the opportunity to comment on the draft guidelines before they are finalised and published. You can register with NICE at:

Winners of the National Adoption Week Awards

• The Department joins BAAF in congratulating all the winners from the National Adoption Week Awards. They received their awards at a special ceremony on 5 November. Further details are available on the BAAF website.

Adoption in Southwark: Article in The Guardian

• The Guardian published an article on 6 November 2013 about Southwark Local Authority’s approach to finding new families for children awaiting adoption. A link to this article is below.

Keeping You In Touch

We are sending this update to those we have contact details for and look to you to disseminate this bulletin more widely among your colleagues and members. If you do not wish to receive this update please reply to this email and we will ensure your details are removed before any further updates are circulated. If any of your colleagues would like to be added to our circulation list they should send their name, email address and job title to .

If you have any suggestions as to how we might make these updates more useful to you – or items you would like to see – please let us know by contacting the email address above.

Adoption Reform Team
Department for Education
November 2013