• Podsoc #74

Disruption beyond adoption

In conversation with Julie Selwyn

[Transcription found in the tab below]

In this podcast, Julie Selwyn talks about a study conducted with colleagues on UK adoption disruptions involving severely abused children adopted from care. She paints a picture of complex cases and the need for child participation and preparation, ongoing therapeutic support for children and adoptive parents, support and training for foster parents, and the importance of open communication about a child’s history and other ongoing issues.

Professor Julie Selwyn is Director of the Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol and is a member of the Adoption Leadership Board. Before joining the University Julie worked for 15 years, as a social worker and residential worker. She has published widely on substitute care including: the placement of minority ethnic children; studies of young people’s view of foster care; outcomes for older children placed for adoption; contact; and the recruitment of minority ethnic adopters. She led a BIG lottery funded study on kinship care, which for the first time used census data to calculate the number of kinship carers in the UK. She has recently completed studies of adoption disruption in England and Wales. Research findings can be accessed at www.bristol.ac.uk/hadley. She is currently working on ways to measure looked after children’s wellbeing.

Recommended citation – APA6th

Fronek, P. (Host). (2015, March 3). Disruption beyond adoption: In conversation with Julie Selwyn [Episode 74]. Podsocs. Podcast retrieved Month Day, Year, from http://www.podsocs.com/podcast/disruption-beyond-adoption/.

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  2. References
  3. Transcript

Selwyn, J., Wijedasa, D., & Meakings, S. (2014). Beyond the Adoption Order: Challenges, interventions and adoption disruption (pp. 321). UK: University of Bristol School for Policy Studies and Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/beyond-the-adoption-order-challenges-intervention-disruption

Selwyn, J. et al. (2015) Beyond the adoption order: challenges, interventions and disruption. London BAAF ( book from the study due to be published this month)

Open access article http://www.familylaw.co.uk/news_and_comment/adoption-special-guardianship-and-residence-orders-a-comparison-of-disruption-rates.

Transcription Podsocs 74 Disruption beyond adoption: In conversation with Julie Selwyn

Thank you to Kelly Arundel for this transcript.

[musical intro to 00.10]

Hello, and welcome to Podsocs, the podcast for social workers on the run. Brought to you by a bunch of social workers from Griffith University in Australia.
I’m Tricia Fronek, one of that bunch, and we’re just basically really glad you found us. So, happy listening.

Tricia: It’s the 2nd of March and we are back to 2015 and today I have got the pleasure to be talking with Julie Selwyn from the university of Bristol. How are you Julie?

Julie: I am fine thank you.

Trish: Thank you so much for being on Podsocs.

Julie: It’s a Pleasure.

Trish: Now, I am really interested in your topic today. You have done a big report on adoption disruptions, would you like to tell us a bit about that?

Julie: Yes. First of all I think it’s really important to point out to listeners, that the children who are adopted in the UK are not the same sorts of children who are usually adopted in Europe and from Australia and New Zealand. Adoption in the UK is used for children who have been abused and neglected and who are in the care system but have no family member to care for them. So adoption is seen as a way of providing some permanence for those children. But obviously, because of the extent of abuse and neglect those children have suffered, they carry that into their placements, into their adoptive families. So our study was interested in how are these children doing who have got really severe early neglect in their backgrounds? Sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse. And children who go into adoptive placements, what happens to that group? How many disrupt and how many families find parenting those children really challenging?

Trish: So how did you approach the topic, Julie?

Julie: Well, we had to approach it in various ways. When a child is adopted in England, they change their identity. So they get a new surname and all the original identifying information is not connected in any of the national databases. So if the child comes back into care they get a new ID number, they have a new education number, they have a new health number. So there is no easy way to find the children who have experienced a disruption. So, the way we did it was we asked the Government to provide us with 12 years of data of every looked after child in the country. Now, this just gives basic details such as their age, when they came into care, how old they were when they moved into placement. And then, I rang every single manager in the country, again and again and again to try get a good response rate and asked them to tell me, give me the names of all the children who you think have experienced a disruption and their original identifying number so I could find them in this database. I then also put the same, um, we did something very similar on websites, trying to just find as many adoptive parents who had experienced a disruption as possible. So that was a big manifest of over 37,000 adoptions and that showed us that there was a disruption rate of only 3%. So, very low disruption.

Tricia: And I understand there’s differences in how disruption is termed or when the disruption occurs? So when does that happen in the UK, when does it become a disruption?

Julie: Yes, that is a tricky question. Because, if you look at previous studies, disruption has been counted at various different time points. So some people count it from the point of when a family and a child are matched, even before the child moves in. Other people count disruption from the point of the placement. But other people, and in our study, we used children who had got a legal adoption order and had left home under the age of 18. I should also say though, that when we went to talk to adoptive families about their experiences, they really disliked the word “disruption” because it implies a finality, an end. In fact, even when I have been out talking about the study to social workers they talk about ‘failed placements’ and what families were saying to us is, disruption is a new phase in the adoptive family life and for all but one of the families we interview, they were still in touch with their adopted child. The young person could not live within the family but the parents were parenting at a distance. You know the average age was about 14. Teenagers was the biggest risk factors, so parents were still providing support you know, they were acting as financial guarantors on flats, they were doing children’s washing, they were having the children back for Sunday lunch. So the word ‘disruption’ puts social workers on a particular pathway of thinking and we found in England that children and young people were being put on a ‘leaving care pathway’. So they were being put into independent living very quickly with the assumption that the adoption had failed. Rather than thinking about, how do we keep those relationships going?

Tricia: So for older children, they could be living away from home but for younger children it might be an alternative placement?

Julie: Well very few of the adoptions disrupted when the children were younger. We only had one child under 14 where the adoption had disrupted earlier post order. So from that huge database study where we’ve got 37,000 adoptions the key factor were; age to entry of care, so children who were older when they came into the care system and that’s not just because they are older, it’s because they have been exposed to maltreatment for longer. Children who had experienced a lot of moves in the care system, so moving around foster placements and children who were not adopted until over the age of 4. So there was a 13 times greater risk for older children. But the biggest risk factor, as I said in that big data set was being a teenager. And that’s very important in England because most of the support services have been developed for the start of the placement. I’m not trying to say that those support services are not important but there is very few support services for those parenting adoptive teenagers themselves.

Tricia: So it doesn’t go across the life span, it’s very much at that initial adjustment phase?

Julie: And right at the end as well, in terms of tracing and trying to find out more about their birth families. There is a gap in the middle. The other thing we did in this study was contact local authorities in the country and ask them to send out a survey to their families. So 13 local authorities, just to say how is the adoption going? Just trying to get a different kind of handle on the way adoptions were going. Now when that data came back, the vast majority of children who the adopters were parenting were teenagers. So we still got a teenage sample. 66% said everything is going pretty well but a quarter said it was very challenging and about 9% in that sample said the child had left home as a teenager. So from that sample we took 35 families who had said the child had left and 35 where they said it was very challenging and we went out and interviewed those families in depth. The average length of interview was about 3 hours and some were 5. I mean, the families were saying to us that often nobody had ever asked them their opinion. This was the first time they had been able to tell their story.

What were the factors? When we talked to the families we were obviously able to get a lot more detail then what you would get from a big data set. Which is an administrative data set, this is the qualitative interviews. And obviously we ask questions about the children’s backgrounds and their histories. The children who went on to experience the disruption had not entered care until they were 4 years old. The vast majority had experienced domestic violence, 23% had been sexually abused and the sexual abuse was of the kind where for example mothers had sold their children to paedophile rings, two had worked as prostitutes under the ages of 6, their pictures had been posted on the internet.

Tricia: So we are talking about extreme abusive situations

Julie: Extreme abusive situations, and of course that is the reason why these children could not return home. That is the reason why they were available for adoption. So very extreme abusive circumstances with the children late removed and not adopted until they were 6. So that was the background factors. But what we were also surprised, was that this group of children also had poor experiences in the care system. So not only did they experience moves in care, but the adoptive parents (and I must emphasis here that we only have the view of the adoptive parents), the adoptive parents talked about poor quality foster care from many of the children who went on to have disruptions and by that then they called it ‘cold clinical professional care’. So they talked about foster carers who provided adequate food, clothing but did not touch the children very much.

Tricia: How would they know that Julie?

Julie: Well for example when they went to visit the foster carers prior to the adoption. Foster carers for example told them things, said to one of the adopters “oh you don’t want to be reading a bed time story to the child every night, they will want it every night” and they said things like that they had um, one the foster carers said to one of the adoptive parents, and this by the way was a child who had been in living in a foster carers family who had been living with the foster carers own children for about 3 years and the foster carer said to the adoptive parents “I have saved all the love and cuddles for you to give, I have saved all the love and cuddles for you to give” and this foster carer thought she was doing the right thing but of course this child had come from a very neglectful family background and gone into foster care where she had observed the other children in the family being cuddled and kissed and nothing happening for her. It gave a message that she didn’t deserve it, you know, she didn’t deserved to be loved. So we are now asking questions here in the UK about whether this is just about poor training of foster carers, whether it is misunderstandings around attachment theory, misunderstood belief. We are also asking whether it’s safe guarding gone too far? Because when I have talking about this study across the UK some foster carers have come up to me and said “we are not allowed to have a child on our lap to read a story, we are not allowed to have a child in the front of the car because of safe guarding rules”.

Tricia: There is a real mixture isn’t there, because years ago that was often the perception. Don’t allow the child to get too close to the foster parent and at the same time, traditionally here, been never enough support for foster care either, so it’s sort of a bit of a transition isn’t it? Being stuck in those old ways and needing to move away from that.

Julie: Exactly Patricia, and another reason may be we what we call compassion fatigue, which is where the foster carers are caring for children and moving them on regularly. How do they cope with their own feelings of sadness and loss? I don’t think always as social workers we are very good at helping people cope of feelings of bereavement and loss.

Tricia: So you don’t have a permanent care system where a child can go into permanent foster care?

Julie: Yes, we do. Those tend to be much older children and children who have learning disabilities, they are much more difficult to place for adoption. But our research and much of the research across the world shows that those situations are not always very permanent. Permanent foster care is often impermanent, children move. The disruption rates tend to be much higher than adoption and the big question of course is what happens at 16, 17, 18? Do those families remain those children’s permanent families as they move into adulthood and have families of their own?

Tricia: So what are the factors that contribute to adoption disruptions in your sample?

Julie: As these maltreated children moved into their adoptive families, one of the early signs was very early aggression, particularly targeted at their adoptive mother. I’m not just talking here about the normal toddler tantrums or young children’s anger, this was extreme anger. Hitting, biting, spitting, that was one group of children. There was another group of children who remember, they had come from backgrounds where many were sexually abused so sexually inappropriate behaviour, taking parents underwear, masturbating openly in public. A lot of sexually inappropriate behaviour and self-harm, from very young children. One of the adoptive mums said to me that very early on in the placement, her son had dropped a cup and he went to a door, put his hand in the door and smashed the door against own hand and took his bruised hand to his mother and said “you don’t need to punish me, don’t worry, I’ve done it myself”. And she said that at that point she realised just how distressed her child was feeling. So most of these families did not get any help in the early days with these very difficult behaviours. The view very much was, once you have got the adoption order it will all settle down, you just have to wait. Once the child realises they are not going to be moved anymore, they will settle down, everything is going to be fine.

Tricia: And love will cure everything

Julie: And love will cure anything, but it didn’t. And I should probably should have said at the beginning, my background is as a social worker, I was a social worker for 15 years and I worked in adoption. So when I was going off interviewing, I was expecting adoptive parents to tell me about attachment difficulties, to tell me about Attention Deficient Disorder, hyperactivity. But instead, every interview we were coming back from, we would hear about violence. It was something I wasn’t expecting and it’s something I have had to learn about since doing the interviews. I had to come back and start investigating for myself. And it was through reading about child to parent violence and adolescent to parent violence through the work of actually, Gallagher in Australia has done a lot of work in this area, but is has not been applied to children in the care system. And yet, children in the care system are carrying all the risks for developing child to parent violence. I think it’s really important for your listeners to understand that the pattern of behaviours that make up child to parent violence are not just about violence, it’s about control and coercian. So we for example had young people who stole their mobile phones, kept their parents hostage in the house. But most of the time parents were saying that they were living in fear. They lived in fear of the young person. Because what was possible at 6, you could pick your child up and put them in another room. When you’ve got a 6 foot teenager towering over you, it’s a very different thing and It was a very scary thing for the parents to try and manage.

Tricia: And it sounds like minimal, if any, preparation and no external support during those periods, except perhaps what the parents could source themselves.

Julie: That’s true for our disrupted group. What they faced was blame. So, when they contacted agencies, the response was “it must be something you are doing, it must be your fault” or “you’ve let us down, we have assessed you as an adoptive parent, we trusted you with this child”. They were receiving those sorts of messages. So we know, generally from child to parent violence research, that parents feel tremendous shame. Not only are they experiencing almost like domestic violence in their own families, it is their own child. Unlike domestic violence, they have to keep on parenting. You can’t remove the instigator in the same way as domestic violence. So, I should point out though, the group of parents who we interviewed, the 35 parents that were finding parents very challenging, had not generally received a response which blamed them as parents. When they didn’t feel to blame they were more likely to keep going and they often had received a much more holistic response with a team around the child. A team around the family I should say, not just around the child but psychologists, educational psychologists, sometimes occupational therapists to help with sensory integration, social work support, so they had received a multi-disciplinary response. So our challenging families were still going, even though some of the behaviour was similar to the behaviour where it had disrupted.

Tricia: Julie, did you get a sense around the anger? I mean obviously you can’t generalise because each of the situations would be different, but obviously, in part, it would certainly be related to pre-adoption circumstances. I am curious as to whether came out about having their identities completely wiped with the system, you know, that everything about them that existed before has changed? And I know that from some adult adoptees that can be an issues and I’m just wondering if in the data, whether you got a sense of what all this anger was about?

Julie: In relation to contact many of the children did have letterbox contact with parents. Some had face to face contact. But that didn’t meant that the psychological presence of the birth parent was not part of their stories. Even those who had contact didn’t always feel that their questions were answered. Why did this happen to me? why did my parent behave the way that they did to me? Why was I abused?.

Tricia: So all of those identity issues, and trying to make sense of their lives.

Julie: And knowledge, so that was part of it. But the other part of the anger, and I think it’s important to here again, go back to the research on child to parent violence that is taking place in other arenas outside social work mainly. So mainly taking place in the UK in criminal justice field and in domestic violence groups because they, at the moment are finding their help lines, many more ordinary parents are ringing in with calls about child to parent violence. What we know from that research is that children who have experienced domestic violence often, there are various explanations. Is it because that’s the way they have learnt to treat women? Is that the way they have learnt to deal with conflict? Or maybe they sometimes admire the person who was the perpetrator. So that’s the kind of domestic violence explanation. A more developmental explanation is that we know that from the peak age of aggression is 2 years old (terrible twos) and the way that children learn to manage their aggression is through their relationship with their primary carer. It’s generally their mum who helps them manage that anger, helps them learn to channel it and also helps them learn empathy for others. Now these children never had that experience. They lived in very neglectful families, they had never had sensitive parenting in that really early period. They just learnt that the world was a very dangerous place and that the only person who was going to be able to keep them safe was themselves. So there are developmental explanations as well. I did interview 12 young people who had experienced disruption and one of the you men had said to me “He just didn’t do mothers” He said “ I got sadistic pleasure from watching my mother cry” by that he means his adoptive mother. He said “I can’t bare anyone to get close to me” He had real problems with intimacy, and that was going into his adult relationships now. And he was quite frank and he told me about how he had difficulty relating to young women now. You could see the pattern from his very early days into his adult life.

Tricia: So what else did the children say?

Julie: The children? Uhmm, the children felt that. The messages were quite mixed in many ways. Some had wanted to go back into the care system because they felt that they couldn’t cope in the family. But then couldn’t find a way back. They were on ‘leaving care pathways’ and they felt very, very vulnerable. The social work attitude was “you have left this adoptive family so now we are going to make you independent”. Some were put into hostels and into flats on their own. All of which had been disastrous because the young people’s behaviour had deteriorated, they had been the target of gangs, there was more drug abuse, some of them said they were lucky to still be alive. So their behaviour at that point of the disruption, they were very vulnerable at that point and people didn’t seem to recognise how vulnerable they were. The social work response was to just find another placement, rather than recognising their vulnerability.

Tricia: Because I Imagine for some there would be a very tough veneer.

Julie: Yes, tough veneer. But they had lived in a family, they had not been in the care system for many years and they were put into hostels. Now I don’t know what hostels are like in Australia but in England there are a whole range of different people in hostels, some of which you wouldn’t want 16 year old girls to be in, on their own. Real target for sexual exploitation, some of the children, well they are young people now because as I said they were teenagers when they had left their families. Some had gone on to find their birth families. Three of them had been re-abused, had been raped again when they found their birth families and they said “we made a big mistake”. They were reassessing their relationship with their adoptive family. Some had moved back to live near the adoptive family. Two had gone on to have babies of their own and they had moved back in with the adoptive family, with their baby. So the adoptive family was bringing up their adopted child’s baby as well. And it really points to the failure to prepare children properly for adoption because these kids really didn’t know.

Tricia: How much was the adoption and circumstances talked about throughout the placements, do you know? Between the adoptive parents and the children.

Julie: Communicative openness. Not very much and it was hard to because we didn’t always have a match between the child we were interviewing and the adult we were interviewing. The adopters said that often they would try to talk about it but the children refused to and they got very angry whenever it was raised. Now whether that was then a reflection on the adoptive parents not being able to say to the young people “we realise it must be very painful to think about this, but we would just like to talk about your early family”. Do you know what I meant? to actually put yourself in the child shoes, rather than just raise it every now and then. But when we interviewed the children they said they hadn’t ask about it much, they didn’t feel they couldn’t ask. Because they felt it would upset their adoptive mums in particular if they talked about their birth mothers. So it felt like the adoptive parents were trying to do it, the children were trying to do it in their own way.

Tricia: But nobody really knew how.

Julie: How, nobody knew how, because we did use a standardised measure called FACES, which was trying to look at whether the parenting style was different in any of these families and the style of communication was different. And it showed no difference between the families who were intact, the challenging group and the families that disrupted. So that wasn’t what was going on, it was almost like they needed a mediation service to help them.

Tricia: So what did the children say in terms of what contributed to the disruptions from their perspective?

Julie: They talked about being driven and needing to find their birth parent or needing to find out the answers. And again, that takes me back to needing a mediation service in the UK because many of the young people put themselves at risk trying to find out the answer. Where, if the social worker had been the mediator it could have been done. Many of them said their parents should have had much better support. I was surprised at how many of the children said “it wasn’t their fault, it wasn’t the adoptive parents fault” they said things like “they had a terrible time with me, it was because of the way I was brought up”. It’s also the point to say, we did interview one young person who said she had been abused by her adoptive parents and I have no reason to think that wasn’t the case, the way talked about it, as I say I was a social worker, lead me to believe that her account was perfectly accurate. So we must not forget that adoptive parents can be abusive as well, but for most of the children, they were not saying that. They were saying “My parents didn’t get enough..” well from the beginning they were saying “we didn’t know why we were being adopted, nobody really explained why we couldn’t live with our birth families anymore” you know, people often avoid some of these very difficult conversations about the kind of abuse these children had suffered.

Tricia: So were they internalising some of that blame do you think?

Julie: Absolutely, absolutely I think they were. But also, because they didn’t understand the reasons why they couldn’t return home. The birth parents took on a kind of rosy glow, of what might be possible. The children talked about thinks like, wondering what might it be like living with this other family? What sort of life would that be like? But of course their hopes were dashed because often they rejected again and as I said several of them were re-abused.

Tricia: So, it really sounds like adoptive parents really need intensive support and access to expert support throughout a child’s life. But it also sounds like the child needs access to some sort of therapeutic intervention throughout their lives as well, to sort of prevent these - I mean they are still going to struggle but they actually need someone as well – and being removed and experiencing all those changes as well

Julie: Yes, they do. I don’t know if you have it in Australia but the importance of life story work to be done before children are placed. Because life story work for these children had often been done very badly. The life story book was really a photo album annotated. It wasn’t what I would describe as a proper life story book explaining what had happened and why and maybe with a later life letter in it they could read when they were older and they needed more of the detail. Because a book that you prepare for a 6 year old is different to the kind of thing you need to understand when you are 14.

Tricia: I was interested to read too, that sometimes siblings are separated.

Julie: Yes, yes.

Tricia: There must be implications with that?

Julie: Well, sometimes yes, sometimes no. It’s one of those questions where you have to go back a little bit and look at the families again that these children are coming from. Many of the families are very large, birth families. For example in another study I did, there was one family where 17 children came into care on the same day, 17 siblings. It’s almost impossible to find.

Tricia: I think it would be difficult to find a placement for 17 children.

Julie: Its impossible, Its impossible and what you often get in the care system in England anyway, often 2 children are removed for example and placed together in foster care. Birth mum then goes on to have another child, that child comes into care and goes into another placement, because the foster carers house is full. You get the families that adopted children are often coming from, often have multiple, multiple siblings. So they are often very big families, much bigger then the norm. So that’s one reason why families get separated. Second reason is, we know that siblings that are sexually abusive to each other, it’s not very good to place them together. It’s much better to place in spate placements and really work on the contact and make sure the children have good contact.

There are also children who have such high levels of need that it would almost be superhuman to ask anybody to take a sibling group with multiple needs. We haven’t talked about the diagnosis of this sample of children but for example 23% of our group had a diagnosis on the Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Many had ADHD diagnosis, they had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, they were self-harming one group, to such a serve extent that it was life threatening, they were cutting their wrists, they were overdosing. Asking one family to cope with three or four siblings, all who have got multiple needs is very, very difficult. And some of the children also, when we interviewed them, some were very pleased that they had been placed with their siblings. Because virtually all of these families had more than one child. I think there was 4 of our 70 families who only had a single child, all the rest were more than one child. So some of the children were saying “we were really pleased we were placed with our siblings” and the adopters were saying the sibling relationship is very important. But other children were saying “being placed with my sibling ruined my life, the abuse I suffered from my sibling ruined my life”. So I think it’s really important that each sibling group is assessed in its own right rather than thinking, we must always do this or always do that. Really look at the relationships between siblings.

Tricia: Julie, how much say did older children’s for example, have in their adoptions? Because I am just thinking now of breaking those legal ties, you know.

Julie: This group didn’t seem to have very much at all. As I said, they didn’t really understand what was happening to them or why, and they didn’t feel they could say no. But again, the group of young people who had gone back, found their birth parents and realised this was all disastrous and gone back to their adoptive families and were reassessing their relationships, were saying that “adoption was the best think that has happened in my life now, I realise that now”. So with any research study, it’s at a specific point in time. So the children who had newly experienced disruptions were still very distressed and wishing all kinds of other things had happened to them. But when we interviewed children where the disruption had happened four of five years ago, they were often coming back to their families. They had reassessed everything about their lives.

Tricia: One thing we can guarantee about child protections, it is complex. So what did the social workers say?

Julie: Well the social workers, there were some that were working in local authorities that had really fantastic services. These were local authorities who had invested in adoption support and not just adoption support because of the support was provided for children in other sorts of permanent placements too. But they were multidisciplinary teams, this wasn’t just seen as the responsibility of social workers, there were psychologists, as I said, there were Ed Psych’s who advised families about what they should expect from the school, who went into schools and helped teachers so children were not excluded or went into schools and did training on attachment. So these were multidisciplinary teams, they had mentors who worked alongside adoptive parents, they provided what they called…one really good local authority had a scheme called PALS (Post Adoption Linking Scheme) and it was trained volunteers who were PALS to either adoptive parents or adoptive children and who provided a little bit of respite. Because what parents sometimes needed was just a night off to go to the cinema or a weekend away, you know, without someone who was being extremely violent. So these authorities provided really good, wonderful services. But for most local authorities, they weren’t able to do that. It was just a social work response and it was very limited, so six session with a family or six life story session and that was it, nothing more.

Tricia: Good grief, so a lot depended on the area where you lived basically.

Julie: Absolutely, what we call a post code lottery.

Tricia: Julie, I have kept you talking for a long time, but this is just so interesting, but just to summarise, it seem to me, from what you have been saying, there needs to be a focus on preparation of children. There needs to be a focus on assisting adoptive parents all the way through, including how to talk about adoption and at the varies developmental stages for the child. And there needs to be lifelong stuff for the child, lifelong supports. And there also seems to me there needs to be expert support when there are special needs conditions. And yeah, those focus areas, would you agree with that?

Julie: Absolutely, I would absolutely agree Patricia. But I would just like to make two points before we finish.

Tricia: Yes please.

Julie: One is that, the difficulties that these children were experiencing was not because of adoption in the most part, it was because of their early abuse, neglect and maltreatment. And we know from the reviews of what happens in terms of maltreated children, that many children continue to experience this. So these are long term issues for the child protection system. If we want to turn children’s lives around, it’s not solved just by bringing children into the care system. We need to do much more in terms of changing children’s lives around. Adopters were able to provide a fantastic, for most children anyway, 66% everything going fine, were able to provide that lifelong parent there. The Government has risen, we hope, to the challenge. On the 1st of May the adoption support fund is being launched in the UK, in England I should say, not the UK just England. Where adoptive parents will have access to the fund to pay for therapy and particular specialist types of treatments, once they have been assessed as being in need of that support.

Tricia: And that will be across all regions?

Julie: Across all regions in England. Its currently being piloted in ten local authorities, it has been very successful and its now being rolled out and we will see what kind of difference that makes.

Tricia: Thank you so much, but it’s very sad as well but there’s probably lots of positives in there as well.

Julie: Yeah

Tricia: Thank you so much

Julie: Thank you. Bye, bye.

[Musical outro 45:57 to END]

Interview ENDS: 45:14