This week has been National Adoption Week. Celebrating its 15th year, this organisation is set up to highlight the needs of children up and down the country wanting a family.
Southwark is one of the most densely populated boroughs in London, and suffers daily challenges from gang warfare, drug and alcohol abuse and poverty. As a result, it also has one of the highest populations of children looking for adoption.
There are on average 560 children in this one borough alone that are looking for homes. Due to the fact the community is very racially diverse, there are also an increasing number of mixed heritage children in care.
The Southwark council have made previous attempts through marketing campaigns, to ease the struggles of those caring for the children. In the last three years they have been able to find the right placements for 60 children, and approve 40 families.
The team are now looking to revitalise the campaign, and raise the profile of the Southwark council.
The major issue that they face is finding black adopters. They have said there could be various reasons for this; on average the black communities are smaller than the white communities, and there is also said to be a distrust of social services and a tradition of informal arrangements within families and communities to look after children rather than through the formal processes.
The council have said that they will approach local church groups, forums and other organisations to try and encourage more families to adopt. Some of the social workers have attended black community church meetings, and the council recently bought a table at the Black History Month event.
Some of the many issues around encouraging people to adopt, are the rumours and misconceptions about how to become an adopter:
- The red tape and scrutiny you will endure
- Who would and wouldn't be considered?
- Scare stories of people left in the dark after papers have been signed
With talks of recession and economic downfall still looming in people's minds, the adoption services are facing a very difficult time; however the councils have said they will not use this an excuse for why children are spending too long in care, and they will push for adoption to be seen as a more viable and realistic option for families.
The top five myths are:
- If you're single you can't adopt
- If you are unmarried you cannot adopt
- If you're over 40 years old you cannot adopt
- If you work full time you will not be allowed to adopt
If you go to the Adoption Week website, it has everything you need to know about how to adopt, you can read stories from families that have adopted, see children that are waiting for homes, and see how you can get involved to spread the word about adoption.
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