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18th April 2018

Dear Mr Zahawi

On 2nd January 2018 we wrote you an open letter.

Open Letter to Rt Hon Robert Goodwill MP/New Minister

We draw your attention to the fact that we have not yet received a response and would like to request that you provide us with one.

Since our letter we have conducted a survey of adopters and special guardians, which identified that 147 respondents (nearly 40%, N=389), have been, or are currently, too frightened to ask for help, even from their doctor, for fear their capacity to parent and care for their child(ren) would be called into question – see page 47 of our interim report, dated 6th March 2018. This means adopters and special guardians avoid seeking help for parental or caregiver stress because the risks of help seeking are perceived as too great.

Special Guardians and Adopters Together Interim Report 6th March 2018

It is unacceptable that so many of us parenting and caring for some of the UK’s most vulnerable and traumatised children and young people, and making a lifelong commitment to support them, are scared to ask for help. This suggests the approach taken towards us is too harsh, fear provoking, and judgemental. It is support we need – not judgments made about us.

We ask that you and Shadow Minister, Rt Hon Angela Rayner MP, both give consideration to the issues we have raised and respond in a timely manner to this second open letter.

We have many ideas and thoughts about how our lives, and the lives of our children, might be transformed and improved but struggle to find a way to be heard and listened to. Could your government and the DofE please give some consideration to this?

We have been much demoralised by the lack of interest in our survey from the DofE/Adoption Leadership Board, and by the lack of support to help us complete the analysis.  We were overly ambitious in the scope of our survey, and recognised that help was needed to complete the analysis of the data. We identified leading researchers and clinicians who wish to help but we need financial assistance also. With no assistance from government we are stuck, and the information we have gathered, which could be of substantial value and importance to inform policy decisions, cannot be considered.

The money we save tax payers is very significant, and the lack of support for us to bring our survey to completion is a very saddening situation.

We hope to hear from you soon.

Kind Regards
Special Guardians and Adopters Together
cc Rt Hon Angela Rayner MP