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Children and potential families meet at adoption activity day
Wednesday 28th May, 2014

Children and prospective adoptive families had the chance to meet and get to know each other at a fun-packed activity day in Wigan Borough earlier this month.

The theme was "Pirates and Princesses" and everyone involved had a chance to dress up and take part in activities designed to bring adopters and children together in play. Children enjoyed the face painting, ball pool and soft play, colouring in a big frieze, making masks in the crafts area, and dens out of cardboard boxes and lots of materials, and even building a magical castle. A magician and afternoon tea brought the day to a close and everyone went home with a party bag.

These adoption activity days are run by local authorities and the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) and are completely child centred and fun. They are designed to allow children to meet prospective families in a fun, informal setting.

The 33 children who attended the event were specially chosen in the hope it will give them a better chance of finding their adoptive family. Many more Adoption Activity Days have taken place elsewhere in the country, and so far the results are promising, with more children being adopted following an event. After this event, 22 expressions of interest were received from prospective adopters.

This national programme was launched following the conclusion of a pilot project in March 2013 after five extremely successful events found adoptive families for 42 children. These events were inspired by examples from the US. Statistics from the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange in Boston, which has facilitated adoption parties for 30 years, demonstrated that adoption parties are twice as effective as any other method of family finding for children.

Preparing children and giving them the opportunity to be actively involved in the family finding process has been one of the biggest challenges of the project. They knew it was going to be a fun day and those children who are of sufficient age and understanding are told that it is an opportunity to meet families who want to adopt and also to meet other children who need a new family.

Councillor Susan Loudon, cabinet member for children and young people at Wigan Council went along to the activity day. She said:

“These events give prospective adopters the opportunity to spend time with the children and create a connection, which helps them and our social workers with the matching process. Already we’ve had a massive response, which is wonderful news. I'd like to thank our foster carers and staff, who helped make the day a success.”

Bridget Betts, Adoption Activity Days Programme Manager, said:

“Following the success of the pilot project BAAF are now running a nationwide programme of activity days which have been very successful in finding adoptive families for children that have waited for a long time. This event was run in partnership with WWISH and was successful in attracting substantial interest in a number of children from adoptive families. Hopefully this will lead to some children finding a family to call their own.”

More adoption activity days are planned due to the success of this one. For more information about adopting in Wigan Borough, please visit www.wwish.org.uk

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