What are the challenges?
We will be working with families who come together through adoption and are affected by the care system, particularly targeting families who urgently need enhanced life story work through a creative process.
46% of new adopters did not receive their child’s life story book within timescales, and 34% described their child’s life story materials as somewhat or very inadequate. 63% did not receive their child’s later life letter (written by a social worker to help the child make sense of their past, intended to be read later in the child's life) within timescales. This demonstrates a significant challenge for a community who often experience stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression, exacerbated by stretched post-adoption support.
“Due to social worker unavailability, I felt unsupported and found it hard to reach out in case they slowed/ stopped the adoption process (which had happened to friends).”- Adoptive parent
Adoption break-downs are on the rise and a quarter of adoptive families describe themselves as ‘in crisis’ (Adoption UK). 70% of adoptive parents feel that it is a continual struggle to get the help and support their child’s needs.
Research shows that at least 50% of adopted children also have a diagnosable mental health problem, as a result of trauma, neglect or abuse experienced in early life. Too often, these children are poorly understood and their needs remain unmet. Adopted children were 20 times more likely to be permanently excluded from school and do half as well as their peers in GCSEs’ (Adoption UK)
We have conducted several interviews with adoptive families who have all said that their life story work did not give them everything they needed to build a firm grounding of identity. We also know from these interviews that very few other charities offer this kind of support.
“We didn’t get a life story or later in life letter two weeks after the celebration as specified . . . The life story is still being completed six months on but is missing information and we are getting it re- written by someone else as what we have seen isn’t helpful to anyone.”- Adoptive parent
Ensuring that every adopted child gets the future they deserve is becoming harder and more complex.