Initiatives funded by Promise are celebrated this Scottish Adoption Week.
Two projects are trying to transform the lives of adopted children and young people in Scotland.
Adoption UK Scotland’s Project #E has helped dozens of young adoptees gain confidence and learn new skills since its launch in the summer of 2021. Older participants have also had the opportunity to join the project’s Youth Advisory Council, where they have had a stake in running the charity’s services and learned how to make their voices heard with politicians and decision makers.
The Scottish Association for Fostering, Kinship and Adoption (AFKA) Staying Connected project is working with six local authorities to create a transition toolkit, which will enable social workers across the country to better support children and young people adopted during the adoption process and beyond.
Both projects are highlighted during Scotland’s Adoption Week 2022, which focuses on adoptees’ connection to family, past, present and future.
Angie Gillies, Director of AFKA, explained: “The landscape of care in Scotland is changing and the number of children requiring adoption from outside their birth family is shrinking. However, there are still children who cannot live within their family of origin and for whom adoption can provide kinship care now and in the future.
“We hear from people with experience in caregiving how important it is to maintain connections to support healthy development and emotional well-being. Therefore, it is imperative that we support children in understanding their roots, their journey and their sense of future. We must support them throughout their family life, whether past, present or future. We must #keepthepromise to children, youth, and adults to maintain the relationships that are important to them and listen to their perspectives throughout their journey.”
Carol Hunter, leader of Project #E, has seen firsthand the project’s positive impact on adopted youth. She said: “In our #E community, the voices of our young people are heard, fostering a sense of self-esteem, belonging and promoting positive relationships, as well as providing the opportunity to develop skills for personal development, confidence and self-esteem. belief through opportunities and experiences that give them transferable skills for a lifetime.
“The project is designed to allow them to move through the age groups over the years, reaching adulthood with a community of like-minded people. As an adoptee, I appreciate that some adult adoptees felt unsupported growing up, and projects like ours address that gap in support.”
Fiona Aitken, director of Adoption UK Scotland, added: “The existence of the #E project is crucial for organizations like Adoption UK Scotland to center the experiences and voices of our children, young people and adults who have experienced the care system. We see it as a vital service to our community.”
Project #E and Staying Connected were funded through The Promise Scotland, which supports organizations working to implement the Independent Care Review’s recommendations that all children in Scotland should grow up loved, safe and respected.
Clare Haughey, Minister for Children and Young People, said: “Adoption Week is our chance to celebrate the positive difference adoption is making for children and young people across Scotland. It is an opportunity to come together to recognize the importance of loving and supportive relationships throughout life.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in these projects who champion the voices of young people with care experience.
“We continue to work collaboratively with the adoption industry to keep the promise by ensuring adoptive families receive the right support at the right time.”
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