It’s hard to achieve change. As Samuel Beckett said:
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
Here is what we have been doing, and who we have met with.
We are very grateful for donations to help us cover expenses and running costs. You can donate using our Just Giving Page
We launched our ‘No Way Home’ Petition to draw attention to the plight of adoptive and special guardianship families where children re-enter care, and parents and carers are marginalised and cannot achieve a positive working relationship with local authorities.
We will present the findings of our recent Connections Survey at a conference on emotional harm organised and supported by the Transparency Project – To find out more click on this link here
We have had strong support from Rt Hon Rachael Maskell MP for our Lack of LAC Petition and await a response from Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP to her letter.
We recieved a response from the House of Commons Education Committee to say that since we published our EHC Plan Enquiry report on our website at the same time as submitting it to them (we believed the findings needed to be in the public domain ASAP), they would not publish it as a submission. There are many who submitted in this situation and decisions are being made about what do do about this. We have been asked to leave the Enquiry Report on our website and youcan read it by clicking on this link here
We developed our Connections Survey, which is currently being analysed. This survey explored the impact of removal of a child on the child, parents, carers and wider family and it will include adoptive and special guardianship families where children re-enter care. The issue of ’emotional harm’ was considered and findings will be presented at the Child Protection Resources conference in London on 16th September
We received a response from the Children’s Commissioner with a contact for us at the DfE who we are hoping to meet with.
We wrote to Ofsted about their ‘Point in Time’ Survey and received a response
We wrote to Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, chair of the House of Commons Education Committee, asking to meet with him.
We wrote to Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, requesting a follow up meeting to the March meeting, to talk about issues raised from our Working Together Report
We wrote to the Children’s Commissioner about our Working Together Report explaining that we feel we have difficulties to be heard and included in discussions.
We released our ‘Working Together’ report hoping that it would spur some positive action and dialogue with us.
We submitted our EHC Plan Enquiry to the House of Commons Education Committee and published it on our website.
We released our School Exclusions Report.
We met with Rt Hon Emma Lewell Buck, who had responded to the open letter to Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP.
We recieved a negative response to from the DfE to a request for support with our survey analysis – this response also constituted the Minister’s Response to us to the open letter of April 18th 2018.
We were pleased to learn the Adoption Leadership Board changed its name to the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board The inclusion of special guardians in the name of the leadership Board was one of our recommendations to come out of the Stress and Wellbeing Survey.
Having had no response to our open letter to the Children’s Minister sent in January we sent another one to Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP.
We released our report on Building Trust with Special Guardian and Adopted Children
We did a press release and sent the report to various media that we thought and hoped would show interest. This included Community Care; a contact on the Victoria Derbyshire programme; and a contact at Channel 4 News. Regrettably, there was no interest shown. We have continued to try to bring our work to the attention of the wider public through our website, and build connections with journalists who show sensitivity and understanding of the problems we experience.
We met (separately), with Isabelle Trowler and with Professor Anna Gupta. We asked the DfE if we could contribute to the Adoption Leadership Board. The response was negative.
One of our members was able to participate in an invitation only workshop for the Care Crisis Review in Sheffield. He was informed that he would not be able to contribute to the Family Rights Group further on a Perent Panel as his children were over 18.
We changed our name to Special Guardians and Adopters Together following a clear vote in favour of this.
We formed as a voluntary organisation and our constitution was agreed in an inaugural meeting held on 3rd February.
Our Stress and Wellbeing survey ran for the month of January and we had more than 400 responses.
We sent an open letter to the new Minister for Children and Families following up on a letter sent to MP Judith Cummins by Robert Goodwill
We worked on a survey about Stress, Health and Well-being, piloting it on group members, ready for January launch.
We formed a steering committee to guide us through the process of becoming a voluntary organisation.
6th November – our chair and co founder appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire programme. To watch the interview with Children’s Commissioner – Anne Longfield and Dr John Simmons from Coram BAAF please click here
We decided, as a group, to include and work with special guardians
October 4th 2017: One to one consultation with SCIE for mental health well-being of children in care and adopted children project. Read the summary of our consultation here.
We tried to contribute to a File on 4 Programme on Adoption on 26.9.16. We were unable to contribute to this programme. After we made a complaint the producers remained intransigent in regards to our requests to avoid the use of the term ‘disruption’ – this was after we had explained its use caused hurt to some adopters and adoptees, and was leading to adoptive families being ‘written off’ by their local authorities when a child is unable to live with their family. We were informed that adoptive families had been in touch with programme makers about ‘draconian removals’ of children but this issue would not be explored in the programme. Possibly a later programme would explore this problem.
We met with two MPs: Rt Hon Judith Cummins MP and RT Hon Rachael Maskell. MP Judith Cummins wrote to the Children’s Minister Rt Hon Robert Goodwill MP.