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New birth family services mapping project launched

Published: 22nd March 2023

2 minute read

Today, Family Rights Group is announcing the launch of a project to map, for the first time, support services – including advice, peer-to-peer support, and therapeutic services - for birth families in England whose children have been adopted or may have a plan for adoption.

At present, there is no nationwide map showing the services available to birth families including parents before, during, and after adoption proceedings have occurred.  Therapeutic support, for example, is often cited in family court proceedings as a necessity if a parent is to safely keep that child, or any future child, at home.  Unfortunately, such support may either not available, or the parent may not know how or where to access it.

Local practice is often extremely variable with very different opportunities in one part of the country to another. This means that, too often, birth families including parents and other relatives are unable to find and access these vital services even when they are available. How families are assisted in navigating the adoption process, in understanding their rights and options, and what support is available at each stage, can have a significant impact upon all involved.

Data gathering for the map is beginning this spring, with local authorities, regional adoption agencies, charities, and the public urged to submit the details of services offering support to birth parents.

Family Rights Group would welcome contributions from local authorities, practitioners, or members of the public who can provide us with the details of any service that supports birth families in England. You can contact us at adavies@frg.org.uk.

On completion, the services will be presented on an interactive map hosted on Family Rights Group’s website where the public can learn more about the types of services offered.

Sarah Johal MBE, National Adoption Strategic Lead, said:

“I am delighted we are able to support Family Rights Group to take forward this important piece of work mapping birth family support services which will help show where services exist as well as identifying gaps in support.”

Cathy Ashley, chief executive of Family Rights Group, said:

“The loss of a child to adoption, is the most draconian and traumatic steps that the state can take. It is crucial that birth families, where a child may or has been adopted, knows how to access the emotional or practical support they need. This mapping project, funded by the Regional Adoption Agencies’ Leaders programme, will ensure that birth parents find it easier to locate and access those vital services that are available.

“We hope this project will also shine a light on local and regional disparities in the availability of services for birth parents, birth siblings, and wider family members and encourage local authorities to commission them where gaps exist.”

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