The Welsh Government has announced restructuring plans for adoption and fostering services in Wales following the closure of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) Cymru, it was announced yesterday.
From September 9, the National Adoption Service will run the Wales Adoption Register with relevant BAAF Cymru staff transfering over to the Service.
Training, consultancy, legal advice and an advice line for the public and professionals will be run by a new body set up by the St David’s Children Society, to be known as the Association for Fostering and Adoption Cymru @ St David’s. The new body will provide training and other services tailored to Wales and will also recruit from former BAAF Cymru staff.
Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said: "These arrangements will strengthen and secure the future of the adoption and fostering services which BAAF Cymru provided, as well as securing jobs for staff employed by BAAF Cymru.
“As soon as we became aware of BAAF’s plans to close, we negotiated with its administrators to ensure services remained stable for an extra six weeks to support vulnerable children and assist people seeking to foster and adopt.
“During this six-week period we have promoted a robust new structure that builds on BAAF Cymru’s expertise across a range of services and activities. BAAF Cymru staff have continued to provide these services until the day of closure so there has been no interruption in services.
“The National Adoption Service shares our goal to develop and improve the Wales Adoption Register. I see these new arrangements as a step towards making the register even more effective and easier to use.
“I am confident that they will lead to improved services and I want to thank all the staff and organisations involved for working with us. Together we have put arrangements in place to help support the most vulnerable children and young people in Wales. I hope to be able to make an announcement about the future of the independent review mechanism very soon.”
Suzanne Griffiths, director of operations for the National Adoption Register, said: "I am pleased to have been able to work with the Welsh Government and colleagues in BAAF Cymru to ensure the register can continue to operate. Ensuring this will mean children who need to be adopted are unaffected as well as providing a further opportunity to strengthen and develop the role the register plays in adoption services in Wales.
”The Wales Adoption Register is just one of the ways adoption services use to match children to adopters. The National Adoption Service would like to assure adopters and professionals who use the Wales Adoption Register that there will be no disruption to the service they receive.”
Gerry Cooney, chief executive of St David’s Children Society, said: “It is our absolute priority to continue services which will support the future of adoption services in Wales as well as other permanent arrangements. The integration of core elements of the BAAF legacy will ensure the continuation of vital services, including an information helpline, training and consultancy.
“These services will offer independent information, support and expertise for professionals and members of the public that will assist and improve the lives of children and young people separated from their birth families.
“The continuation of services has only been possible due to the superb support from the Welsh Government. We will now work together to harness the highly-skilled expertise of both organisations to achieve our vision of placing children in their forever homes and in offering support where needed to all those affected by adoption and other care arrangements.”
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