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First ever adoption support map for birth families launched

Published: 30th May 2024

4 minute read

Today, Family Rights Group has launched a new interactive map of support services for birth families – parents and relatives of children who have been adopted, are being adopted or may be adopted. This map is the first of its kind in England and will help thousands of families find the critical support they need.

The interactive map, hosted on Family Rights Group’s website, allows families to search for adoption support services in their area using their postcode. This includes services that provide advice, support groups, and counselling. Finding this assistance to navigate the adoption process, to understand their rights and options, and discover what support is available at each stage, has a significant impact on birth families. The map will help birth families find the support they need, and it will shine a light on areas in England where there are gaps in provision.

Pam Ledward, Principal Social Work Adviser at Family Rights Group, said:

“Too often, birth families affected by adoption struggle to access the support they need. Wherever families are in the process – before, during, and after adoption proceedings – Family Rights Group’s specialist national advice service hears heart-breaking examples of families left to navigate that process alone.

“The support available to families in these situations can vary from area to area. It can also have a significant impact on the outcome for the children involved. For example, therapeutic support is often cited in family court proceedings as a necessity if a parent whose child has been adopted is to safely keep subsequent children at home. Unfortunately, such support may either not be available, or the parent may not know how or where to access it. 

“Our new interactive map will, for the first time, create a go-to resource for families to find support at this critical time.”

The social work team at Family Rights Group has spent the past year gathering data on the services available to birth families across England. Working with members of the charity’s parents panel and web developers, the interactive map has been designed to be easy for families to use.

Katie, a member of Family Rights Group’s parents panel, said:

“When two of my children were adopted, I couldn’t find any support. I searched everywhere and felt alone. Then I found Family Rights Group which changed my life.

“Their new map will help birth parents like me, and other relatives, find support and information in our area when we need it. I and other parents have provided our input to make sure the map is useful to others in our situation.

Funding for the project has been provided by Adoption England – a collaboration of regional adoption agencies.

Sarah Johal MBE, National Adoption Strategic Lead at Adoption England, said:

“We know that it can be hard for birth families to find the adoption support they need and that gaps in support exist. We wanted to work with Family Rights Group to bring details of all the services in England together in a simple and effective way, so that birth family members can easily check what services are available to them.

“After almost a year of gathering information, Family Rights Group has launched this essential map of adoption services and we are, for the first time, able to get a better picture of what services for birth families are available where, and how to access them. We now need to make sure that birth families know about this map.

“This map will also be useful for professionals working with families to help understand the support provision available in their region and local area.

“At a time when birth family members may not know who or where to turn to for help and support, this map is certain to change lives.”

Visit the interactive map

Professionals are strongly encouraged to share details of the service with the families they are working with. A communications pack is available to support this.

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