Tag Archives: gareth marr

The Adoption Social Times

TAStimesYes, it’s time for your regular round-up of news from the world of The Adoption Social…

Weekly Adoption Shout Out
Still going strong but we have to apologise for not sharing as many posts recently – we’ve both been a bit bogged down with family life, but hope to get back to sharing again soon. We really appreciate when you, as readers and supporters, share posts you find on #WASO so please keep doing that…
Themes for the next month are:
10 June – If I had 5 minutes peace…
24 June – My bucket list

During May we’ve been using the theme #LookAtMe and we’ve seen a few achievements there. We’ll be rounding up tomorrow and giving you the next theme. I can’t wait to see what it’s going13323818_1141227962595894_5132127242587791783_o to be can you? Keep snapping those pics and sharing them with the #taspic.

Meet The Blogger
It’s been a little while since we’ve shared any Meet The Blogger posts, but we know there are a few new bloggers out there that we don’t know much about.
If that’s you, then email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com to get our interview questions so we can learn a bit more about you. You can check out previous Meet The Blogger posts here if you want to find out about other bloggers.

The Open Nest conference
The next conference from The Open Nest is fast approaching. Taking place in York in July, further information is in the advert over there —–>
Don’t forget to book!

Posts you may have missed…

After the sad loss of Gareth Marr, we shared this post.

A reader asks for help on preparing her eldest to adopt again.

This review looks at a yoga book to help children feel positive.

An adoptive dad wrote a post about the ups and downs of adoptive parenting.

A new self harm workshop is available from Inspired Foundations.


Gareth Marr – Our Adoption Warrior

This week the online adoption community has been deeply saddened by the passing of one of our adoption warriors, Gareth Marr.

Here at The Adoption Social, the news came as a huge shock; Gareth was such a large character in our community, and a friend we had met on a number of occasions at adoption conferences. It has made me think about the man who was always spotlessly turned out and full of ideas and thoughts on any discussion we were holding on TAS, or on the day at those conferences. He was full of enthusiasm for anything that challenged the establishment on their ability to support adopted children. A father of an adopted child himself, our heart goes out to his family at this difficult time.

Gareth was always very supportive of The Adoption Social and wrote for us on many an occasion. If you want to know a little bit more about this man, we can let him tell you more with his “Meet Me” post.  I love that as a pastime he says he enjoys spending time with his son; conkers was that week’s activity, he also had a fine taste in music.

So if we look at posts that Gareth wrote for us, for those that don’t know, his passion was ensuring support for adopted children in education. It comes as no surprise that his first post for us, about the pupil premiums plus, is almost the most viewed post on our site, Helping Our Children at School – Using the Pupil Premium Plus. I think Gareth would find it amusing that the post that pips him to the top spot is our post about pixilating a picture.

 He wrote other posts about education for us and worked tirelessly with his local authority, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, to affect change where he lived, with the hope that this would create a bench mark for other LA’s to achieve.

 If that was not enough, he also supported others trying to affect positive change around adoption. As trustees for The Open Nest charity, we can’t thank him enough for his donation of signed Pink Floyd vinyl, which raised the largest single donation for the charity of £4000.

 A light has gone out in our community but I’m sure he would not want us to feel too sad, instead we must feel confident in fighting for the rights of our children and all those involved in adoption.

 Rest peacefully Gareth Marr.

Meet Me: Gareth Marr

Our first Meet Me post today comes from blogger, tweeter and campaigner Gareth Marr…

  • ‘Sapiens – A Brief History of Mankind’ Yuval Noah Harari. Did you know we lived on the earth with other Home species and probably mated with them!
  • ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ Marlon James. The Jamaica the tourists don’t know.
  • ‘Artie Shaw, King of the Clarinet. His Life and Times’ Tom Nolan. He married 8 times including Lana Turner and Ava Gardner, dated Betty Grable and had Billie Holiday as his singer in an all white band.

It’s all modern New Orleans jazz

  • ‘Breathless’ Terence Blanchard
  • ‘Say That to This’ Trombone Shorty
  • ‘Stretch Music’ Christian Scott

TV Programme – Dr Foster

Food – soft and easy to digest and made by Mrs M

Pastime – Anything with son. This week conkers.

What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?
That after us, school is the most important thing to get right. ( I think we passed, so far)

Who inspires you?
So many, but this week Louise Bomber who did a brilliant on day conference for local adopters last Friday.

What do you think is your biggest source of support?
My wife and son.

What do you do to take care of yourself?
Breathe, carefully and with concentration. Yoga.

What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
‘If you are lucky enough to be in the club, you gotta pay your dues.’

The lovely Gareth can be found tweeting as @garethmarr and blogging here..

Taking Action with #MeetTheMinister

We don’t usually re- blog posts on our site but this one has a very important message. Here is your chance to ask the questions you’d like answers to regarding adoption. Thank you Gareth Marr for this post. 

There is an opportunity to get a powerful message to Children’s Minister, Edward Timpson, that adopted children need and deserve Virtual School support. He will be on a webcast this Wednesday 17th June at 6pm, with First 4 Adoption.

Details here : http://www.first4adoption.org.uk/news-list/meet-the-adopter/

Questions can be emailed to socialmedia@first4adoption.org.uk and the conversation can be joined on Twitter @First4Adoption using the hashtag #meettheminister.

Please, please, please use this opportunity to contact Edward Timpson and ask for the scope of Virtual Schools to be extended to Adopted Children. I do believe Mr Timpson understands the need and is sympathetic, but this is an opportunity to reinforce our concerns and ask for change. It is also timely. There will be a new Adoption Bill going to Parliament before the summer recess and this change could be part of that Bill.

The Case for Change

Here are the arguments:

  • Virtual Schools support Children in Care recognising the challenges they have resulting from early life trauma. Adopted Children were Children in Care and need the same support. Adoption is not an overnight cure.
  • After the permanency provided by a loving and supportive family a successful education experience is the most important factor in ensuring our children become happy and successful adults and citizens.
  • It is not possible to predict when crises might arise in school. The average age for adoption is 3, problems often occur at major school transitions at ages 4/5, 7/8, 11, 16. These are also the times when adoption disruptions are likely to happy. (Julie Selwyn, Beyond the Adoption Order). Therefore the support is needed throughout education.
  • Children in care in education have Virtual School support and Personal Education Plans. This support stops on adoption. Some LAs continue until the Order (as they should) but many do not. So a child who has been well supported then goes through the trauma of a major life change at adoption and  the trauma of a new school, with no professional support.
  • Problems with school are the main concerns of adopted parents. They form the majority of calls for help that Adoption UK receives. We struggle to get schools to understand the needs of our children.
  • Schools often fail to see that our children are not naughty, but that they are struggling with their own emotions and the need to manage the school routine and relationships with other children.
  • In many schools we are seen as the problem parents of problem children. Schools need training to understand the effect  their early lives have on our children.
  • As parents we need to work in partnership with our children’s school, not constantly fight with them to get our children understood and supported.
  • There is a large body of evidence that shows how and why adopted children struggle in school. But equally there are excellent tools and techniques available to help our children. Many schools don’t understand either the issues or the help that is available. They need guidance on this.
  • There is no consistent help when our children transition for one year to the next, or from one school to another. No help with school selection or identifying a school that understands the needs of our children.
  • Many schools have misused the Pupil Premium for adopted children. Many have not engaged with adopters on the way Pupil Premium might help our children.
  • A Virtual School Head working with the parents and the school will solve many if not all the above problems. Help on school selection, advice on specialist support, guidance on Pupil Premium spending and training the school staff will make a massive difference to our children’s outcomes.
  • A Personal Education Plan will provide the long term structure to manage our children’s education, helping with transitions, identifying needs, agreeing support and monitoring results.
  • This support should cost less than that for CIC. The adoptive parent will replace the Social Worker and Foster Carer who are involved with CIC. Once set up and running the PEP will often be managed by the parent and the designated teacher with the VSH available if required. Not all adopters will take up the offer.
  • There is a major cost of not providing the support. Julie Selwyn’s BTAO research reported over 25% of adoptive families struggling, families and marriages in crisis and financial difficulties. So many times the crises in our children’s lives are caused by difficulties at school. Put in a process to support adopted children in school and the cost familes are bearing will be lessened.
  • The cost of an adoption is £27000. The cost of supporting a child where an adoption has disrupted can be £100,000s  a year.
  • The NICE draft guidelines on attachment published this month make no distinction between CIC and Adopted Children on the effects of their early life trauma and the need for support. They specifically say that Local Authorities and Virtual School Heads should support children with attachment difficulties in schools.
  • Some Local Authorities are now providing this support and some are considering it. It is not right that adopters in England will only get Virtual School support at the whim of their LA.
  • Prospective adopters are becoming increasingly aware through their training of the effect of early life trauma and the potential issues they may need to manage. If LAs do not start to look at school support they might find it difficult to recruit adopters in future.
  • The current (and welcome) focus on matching ‘harder to place’ children makes this support even more essential. These are the very children that are almost guaranteed to present with  multiple challenges that parents will need to manage and get support on. especially at school.
  • Edward Timpson’s support for adopted children in schools is proven with what has happened already. Priority admission and the Pupil Premium have undoubtedly helped us and our children. The next step of Virtual School support will complete that work, improve the effectiveness of the previous measures and help our children succeed in their lives.

A call to action!

So is that enough to get going with? Can I suggest you pick what is most pertinent to your situation from that list and then add a personal story to illustrate the need for support. Then send an email to Edward Timpson at socialmedia@first4adoption.org.uk with the heading ‘Virtual School support needed for Adopted Children.’

Here is the email I will send:

Virtual School support needed for Adopted Children

Dear Mr Timpson,

Your Department has already introduced welcome support for our children in schools with Priority Admission and the Pupil Premium. Can you please now complete that support by requiring Local Authorities to support Adopted Children in schools as they do Children in Care? As you will know this support has been pioneered in my LA , Windsor and Maidenhead and you kindly commended our work earlier this year with these words.

“Like children in care, adopted children face unique challenges at school and often struggle to keep up with their classmates. It’s vital that these vulnerable children are given the targeted support they need and the education they deserve to help them get on in life.

I’m delighted that the Royal Borough has extended their scheme to support the education of adopted children at school and I hope other local authorities will be inspired by such an innovative approach.” 

We have now been running this for a year and have seen a transformation in our schools’ understanding of how to care for adopted children and real improvements already for adopters and their children. I have had success with the three other Berkshire LAs that are partners in the newly merged agency Adopt Berkshire but have struggled to persuade others. We have 30 plus LAs coming to a conference we are hosting on how and why we did it on 30/06 so that might help.  I have also been working in Yorkshire with PAC-UK on their DfE funded project and both Leeds and York are now actively looking to extend their VS support.

I sense you will understand the need to support our children in this way. This month’s new guidelines from NICE on caring for children with attachment difficulties has also confirmed the need. They make no distinction between adopted and children in care and says both should be supported in school by Virtual School Heads.

I do hope you will be persuaded to issue similar guidelines to the July 2014 ones for Children in Care. There will be differences in the detail for adopted children, but the principle is the same. Adopted Children were Children in Care and also need support at school to cope with the symptoms of their early life trauma. Their parents need support to help develop effective partnerships with schools that will benefit teachers, children and parents.

I will be happy to assist the Department with the experience and knowledge I have developed in instigating this change locally and working with the LA’s children services on putting the service together.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Gareth Marr

Governor of RBWM Virtual School and Adoptive Parent. 

Let’s do it! 

Please, please do write and tweet about this. I sense the tide is right for us now and if taken at the flood will lead to success. The more adopters the Minister hears from the more likelihood we will get change. Can you please also copy your emails on this blog site so we can get an idea of the support. Thanks so much.

Gareth Marr

Helping our children at school – a breakthrough in support from Local Authority

Today Gareth Marr brings us an update on his work with local authorities and their use of Pupil Premium Plus.

It is pleasing to report good news. Since pupil premium plus was launched for adopted children in schools I have been on a personal campaign to try and get schools to work with adoptive parents on the best way to spend this money. Adoption Social has been a great help by publishing two previous blogs which I have then used to communicate with Children Services at my Local Authority (LA). They can be accessed here



The LA could not have been more supportive and receptive to my ideas. I have been appointed a governor of the Virtual School and on Monday this week I spoke at a conference for Heads and Designated Teachers on the new support being launched for adopters and their children. The full text of my speech is below but before reading it and getting confused by the jargon of education services the following guide might be useful for adopters and prospective adopters. A caveat – this is my understanding from local experience. It may vary around the country.

Educating our children

When a child of school age is taken into care the LA, as corporate parent, has responsibility for that child’s education. This continues after placement until the adoption order is granted when the adopted parent becomes responsible. The LA meets its responsibility through a ‘Virtual School’ (VS). The school has no classrooms but has Virtual School Heads (VSHs) who work with foster carers and the schools in the LA attended by children in care (CIC). The VSHs are usually experienced senior teachers and ex heads who understand the needs of CIC and the education system.DSC_0370

Each school is required to have a Designated Teacher (DT) responsible for the CIC in the school. In small schools the DT is often the Head Teacher.  When the child first goes to their new school the VSH will work with the child’s social worker and the DT to develop a Personal Education Plan (PEP) for the child. At the initial PEP meeting the needs of the child and the support required will be agreed. The child’s current educational standards will be confirmed and future targets set. The PEP is then reviewed regularly, usually half yearly, at a formal PEP meeting. The Pupil Premium (PP) for CIC is controlled by the VS and schools need to apply for funding the required support for their pupils. There are many possible interventions including: 1:1 tuition, paired reading, after school club, homework club, teaching assistant hours, laptop, home tutoring, equipment and resource, staff training, psychological assessment and support etc.

All of this support recognises the help that CIC might need because of their traumatic backgrounds. But until recently the system seemed to assume that the child is miraculously cured of all the ills from their previous life when adopted. My LA has recognised that adopted children and their parents need support at school and it is this new initiative that was launched this week. I am aware that some other LAs also support adopted children, but as they are not required to do so, this support is patchy.

A recommendation for new adopters. If your child is of school age, get your SW to obtain the PEP from the previous school and see if you can get a meeting with the VSH and DT at the school to get as much detail as you can on current school support and the child’s performance. Ask to see the VSH in your LA to help you with the new school. Remember they are still responsible until the adoption order.

The conference

The LA is the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) and attending were nearly 60 Heads and DTs from local schools. The Director of Children Services is Alison Alexander and she opened the conference with some really powerful statements.

Expectation: All CIC achieve higher outcomes than their non care peers.

Why: Our children deserve a better life and they have to be able to achieve it alone and forever

Measure myself: Every young person leaves our care as successful economically independent adults.

How: Theoretically they have the might of the whole system behind them!”

Alison then set out the needs of adopted children, many similar but some different.

She closed with her personal story as a child in care, a care leaver and now a DCS. For her it was education and the key support of individuals that believed in her that made the difference.

My role was then to explain why adopted children need support, what is going to be provided and how. The full text of my speech is below.


RBWM Virtual School extends support to cover Adopted Children, Children Subject to SGOs, and Children at the Edge of Care.

 Speech to RBWM Virtual School Designated Teachers Conference, Moor Hall, Cookham 9th June 2014 by Gareth Marr, Governor RBWM Virtual School, Adoptive Parent.


My talk today is about the new service from the Virtual School for adopted and other potentially vulnerable children.

I am an adoptive parent, our son came to us at age 6, he is now 11, and has been through years 1 – 6 in a local primary school

I am a member of the Berkshire Adoption Panel which approves new adoptive parents and matches between children in care and adopters.

I have recently been appointed a governor of the RBWM Virtual School, representing adopter’s families.

As part of caring for our son I have studied the effect of early life trauma on children, attachment difficulties and their effect on children’s performance in school.

Why the new support?

Children in Care are already supported by the Virtual School working with Designated Teachers, recognising the help these children need. This is a successful partnership. Impressive RBWM key stage 2 SATs forecast for 2014 indicate above national average results.

Virtual School support is now to be extended to adopted children, children subject to Special Guardianship Orders, and children at the edge of care.


As with CIC the majority will have suffered early life trauma and the effects can be long lasting.

It is very hard to understand what we mean by neglect, abuse etc.  Neglect here doesn’t mean not getting your 5 a day or forgetting to do a packed lunch. I know some of the abuse my son suffered but because I wasn’t there I could never really understand the effect of it. But I understood more when I saw this video.

Show video ‘Removed’   http://t.co/j30m9C6XaV

What you have just seen is nothing compared to what some children we are dealing with right now have suffered. Just reading the papers for adoption panel can bring me to tears. Our son was starved, neglected, subject to and witnessed violence and torture for the first 4.5 years of his life. Children are abused before birth with mothers using alcohol, hard drugs and cigarettes. Others are sexually abused.

We are all quite rightly outraged and full of sympathy when headlines scream of children dying at the hands of their abusive families. However, there is much less sympathy for the children fortunate enough to be ‘saved’, who are taken into care or adopted and then act out their distress in anti-social or challenging ways as they grow older. (1)

Perhaps you would too, in similar circumstances. Many of the behaviours shown by traumatised children in care are a direct (and rational) response to their experiences. Would you be able to relax and ‘fit in’ if you didn’t know how long you were going to stay somewhere? In a place where the sounds and smells and expectations of you were very different from those you previously knew? When you don’t really understand why you are there and why the only people you knew are no longer around you and possibly gone for good? If you had been let down by the people who were supposed to keep you safe, would you find it easy to trust people again and to allow them to take control of your life? (1)

As an adult in these circumstances, it would seem good sense to be wary of new people and not get too attached to them; to be hyper-vigilant and always watching out for danger and new threats to your wellbeing; to be self-sufficient and resist the help of others if you can’t be sure you can trust them. And yet, society seems to expect children to just be happy to have a new family, to forget what went before and to embrace their new family life with as little fuss as possible. (1)

We are often told our son is ‘lucky’ to be with us. Now I understand no offense is meant, but I after what he has been through ‘lucky’ somehow just doesn’t fit. ‘Lucky’ children are those that don’t have to go into care, don’t have to be adopted.

Adoption cannot wipe away over night the emotional and physical damage caused by years of trauma and neglect. Nor does it repair brain damage, reignite cognitive brain function or even miraculously cure delays in brain development. (2) But our children can be healed or at least helped to learn how to cope with the demons from their early life. Adoptive parents are  ‘therapeutic parents’, trained to help their children understand that they can be safe, they will be loved no matter what and to gently help them through the inevitable distressing times and upsetting behaviours. But it does take time. Even after 5 years we can still see the fragility within our outwardly bright and confident boy.

A safe and secure home is not however enough. Our role is also to help our children find their place in society and achieving their potential future citizens. We cannot do this alone. A good education experience is essential. The most successful outcomes for our children will come from a supportive partnership between adoptive parents, carers and the school.

The following details came from a new extensive DfE research report ‘Beyond the Adoption Order: challenges, interventions and adoption disruption’. April 2014

210 adoptive parents from 13 LAs and 180 Adoption UK members were asked how their adoptions were going:

  • Just over one-third reported few difficulties.
  • 30 per cent said life was good but they were facing challenges.
  • About a quarter of parents described major challenges with children who had multiple and overlapping difficulties. Many were struggling to get the right support in place. Parents reported that they were physically and mentally exhausted and that there had been a negative impact on marital and family relationship

Between 1 April 2000 and 1 July 2012, 565 children were known to have had a post-order adoption disruption.

  • Nearly two-thirds occurred during the secondary school years; children were on average 12.7 years when they left their families (range 1.7 years – 17 years).
  • The majority (57 per cent) of the disruptions occurred five or more years after the making of the Adoption Order.

Many of the challenges described and disruptions that occurred can be directly related to the child’s difficulties in coping with school. Often they do not appear until a child goes to school. When infants and toddlers are adopted they are immediately surrounded by love, safety and security. It is when they leave that environment and enter in to the big scary world full of strangers that is school that the demons from the past return. And this is precisely why this new initiative is so important. It is also important to get the support in the primary years to give the child the best chance in secondary school. If adoption doesn’t succeed what happens to the children?


“While those in the care system account for just one percent of children, a quarter of those in prison were in care as children”

 David Cameron. Speech to the Centre for Social Justice 22nd October 2012

We can break the cycle of neglect and abuse by working together and saving our children from this bleak future. My son was abused by his birth family, his mother was abused by her family, her mother by her family. Three generations of abuse. What chance did they have? It stops now with my son and with your help.            

 So what is the new initiative?

Personal Education Plans for Adopted Children

All existing adoptive parents in the LA will be offered a PEP for their children. Parents will be written to via the school and every school that has applied for the Pupil Premium for adopted children will get this communication. Parents will be invited to training on PEPs and can then decide if they want to proceed. It is not expected all adopted parents will take this up. It is their choice and some may well be happy with the way their child is getting on at school.

The parent and the DT will then have their first PEP meeting. RBWM is introducing new electronic PEPs so the information required can be gathered before the meeting. The VSH will be available if required to assist at this meeting.

At the PEP meeting the following will be covered –

  • Full details of the child’s current educational performance.
  • An assessment of the child’s needs and how he/she will be supported.
  • Use of the Pupil Premium to support the child discussed.
  • Targets for future performance set.
  • Review meetings agreed (six monthly)

The PEP then becomes the tool for monitoring the child’s continued needs and the impact of the support. The aim as with CIC is for adopted children to achieve higher outcomes than the other children in the class. The PEP is also a useful medium for passing information on as the child transitions for year to year and at the end of key stage 2. The VSH will have access to the electronic PEPs and use the data to report to the Virtual School Board of Governors.

New adoptions and new school entrants

If the child was in education prior to placement the VSH will obtain the child’s PEP from the previous school. The VSH will be available to help with school selection and introduction to the designated teacher. She will brief the parents on the PEP process and help set up the first electronic PEP. She will also assist in discussions on uses of the pupil premium.

Attachment training for schools in autumn term 2014.

Let me test you on how a child with attachment issues might be affected in your class.

Where would you sit this child?

Why might the child struggle with Maths more than literacy?

What difficulties might arise at lunchtime?

By understanding how poor or no attachment to a primary carer in early life can affect a child’s developing brain you can better appreciate the ways these children can be helped to succeed. RBWM aims to have all school staff trained on attachment issues. This will include TAs, playground assistants and governors as well as teachers. This is going to be a big task and currently the details are being worked out. We are meeting with Adoption UK’s training manager next week on this as we plan to use their trainers and existing resource for this training.

We are considering three events in different locations for all school leadership teams and DTs. Part of these events will be to create ‘attachment champions’ who will then take the training out to all the LAs schools and establish regular refresher training.


There is a good record in the LA of the partnership between schools and the virtual school achieving results. At present schools have a legal responsibility towards children in care – but not once they are adopted. But as I have said, fairy dust is not sprinkled on adopted children so that it is a happy ever after life with their new family. Their needs are not likely to change overnight from those of Children in Care, even if they appear to be well-attached.

Research shows that adoption provides the best outcome for children who have been taken into care. There is a revolution going on in adoption in the UK. The whole process is being streamlined, new adopters are being recruited and we are seeing a big increase in children from traumatic backgrounds being placed with their new forever families. Our children and their parents really need your support in achieving the most successful outcomes possible. More than anything else it will be the partnership between parents and schools that will change our children’s lives forever, break the cycle of neglect and abuse and produce the successful pupils and adults we can all be proud of. I am so pleased that Alison and her team have realised the need to support us. It is great to be a part of this new initiative which will make a real difference to the lives of many adopters and their children in the borough.

When planning this we looked at the scope of the initiative. It was agreed that the Virtual School would cover: all CIC, Children at the edge of care, Adopted Children, Children with SGOs. Great, but so many labels! Let’s just call them special children.

A story to show how special they can be. My son age 7 was sitting with a group of boys in the middle of the playing field all listening to their football coach. Beside me at the edge of the field a young boy was having a breakdown with his mother as he didn’t want to join the group. My son got up, walked over, spoke to the boy, took him by the hand and walked him to the group and sat down with him. The Mum couldn’t believe it. How could I explain that it was because our son was:

  • Hyper attentive. He needs to know what is happening all the time.
  • Doesn’t like seeing children in distress. Saw much of it in his previous life.
  • Knows how to parent. When 4 he cared for a 2 year old.

But what a wonderful way to use his history for good.

Thank you for the all the good work I know you are going to do to help these special children and for listening to me.

Acknowledgements (1) Adoption UK Factsheet 19. What every teacher needs to know. (2) Adoption is not a quick fix. thefamilyof5.wordpress.com

After thoughts

The teachers received these messages well. There were some tears after the video and they really understood why adopted children need support. Many were aware of adopted children in their schools and thought introducing PEPs was a great idea. They especially welcomed the proposed attachment training. My son’s head was there and told the delegates how AUK attachment training had really opened her eyes to the need for support.

What next?

The new initiatives will be put in place in the LA over 2014. RBWM is one of six LAs in Berkshire and the adoption panel covers all six. I want to use the example of RBWM and my contacts at panel to persuade the other LAs to do the same. But why can’t this go national? It is plain daft that all the good support for Children in Care just stops when they are adopted. It also doesn’t cost much. In RBWM one VSH is working another day a week to cover adopted children. When the work locally is progressed I would like to campaign for this approach nationally. Adoption UK and Sir Martin Narey have already engaged with me on this and with their and other’s support I believe we can make this life changing difference for our children.

Please let me know what your experience is and any ideas as to how we get this moving nationally.

You can contact Gareth Marr via:-

TWITTER @garethmarr 

EMAIL garethmarr7@gmail.com