Adoption through Barnardos or LA....?

(24 Posts)
3kings Fri 05-Oct-12 15:37:51

hi, we are beginning to think about adopting a child and I cannot see any mention of Barnardos on these pages. Does everyone always use their local authority and maybe it's the SW that contacts the charity....

Is there a difference in the children 'available'? Do they have different criteria for parents, is one more stringent than the other....?

We are on the border of London with Essex so could potentially contact about 3 or 4 LAs.

Many thanks.

Ragwort Fri 05-Oct-12 16:25:17

Well, this isn't very helpful but some people close to me adopted through Barndado's - the support was terrible, I don't think enough planning was provided and sadly the adoption broke down. I would ask very, very carefully about how much support they give you both before and after the adoption.

WendyGx Fri 05-Oct-12 16:27:15

Hi there and congrats on a big decision

I am sure those with more experience to expand on my very limited knowledge (as I'm at matching stage)...but it may help....

We chose to go with LAs - simply as they have children, I understand that Barnados do not have children. Effectively they train you and 'promote' you to the LAs. One LA told us how they could not afford to place children with people outside of their LA or regional consortium. She suggested the training was worth c£20K!

We met 6 different LAs at open evenings or home visits and then whittled down to our prefered one. Whilst we hope to adopt from children in this LA's area, the consortium they are part of (essentially other close LAs) 'exchanges' children and adopters.

A friend of a friend was approved via a specialist agency (outside of LA) and she has waited a very long time for approval and for matching and claims others have the same experience. It put us off, but you might need to take that with a pinch.

Best of luck!

MyDogEatsPoop Fri 05-Oct-12 17:48:49

My understanding is that agencies (VA's, as Barnados is) deal with the harder to place children - those with special needs, older children, or larger sibling groups. Local Authorities will always use their own adopters first of all, and then look to other agencies for the harder to place children. Agencies don't have their own 'pool' of children, as WendyGx says.

Moomoomie Fri 05-Oct-12 17:59:14

I agree with the above posters.
Barnados is often a "quicker" approval process, which isn't always a good thing. They also do tend to place the harder to place children.
I have a friend who was still very young when she went through Barnados , she has said herself that she decided on them for the speed of approval. They had 3 boys placed with them, which they have found very difficult to cope with, with very little support. It has almost broke down, and has depressed my friend so much. She has said to me on many occasion that she wished they had gone through the LA, had been more prepared and had a better match.
Good luck with your journey.
Ps, don't let the above put you off.

Ragwort Fri 05-Oct-12 18:24:05

Moomoomie - that's interesting that your friend has also said she has had very little support through Barnados, sad, it's not right is it?

DameKewcumber Fri 05-Oct-12 18:27:19

VA's get the harder to place children as a rule because its cheaper for LA's to place within their own consortium so will only turn outside when that fails (madness).

Having said that I have heard good things about some VA's but know nothing about Barnados.

Moomoomie Fri 05-Oct-12 18:52:06

Ragwort... It is madness, although to be honest we have had very little support from our LA. I spoke to a post adoption support worker requesting support and for them to attend a school meeting with us. We were told " we can't be all things to all people"

Lilka Fri 05-Oct-12 19:34:09

I have no experience of Barnados (I adopted through my LA). You can contact whatever LA/VA you want for information, and I encourage you to get initial information from several before deciding who to adopt with. Plenty of adopters use VA's, although it's more common to use your local authority.

VA's do not have their own children ever. It is the LA's who have the legal authority to take children away from their birth parents, and get court orders authorising adoption etc, so all waiting children are in the care of their local authority. When an LA gets a placement order for one of their children, they will nearly always look at their own pool of adopters first. If there isn't anyone suitable, they will look elsewhere. That costs money. If the LA is part of a consortium of adoption agencies (this could include VA's) they look there next. After that, if the LA are willing to spend the money, they'll look to an LA/VA further afield, advertise in adoption magazines etc. But some LA's are slow to take that step, and will keep the child in care longer in the hope of finding an 'in-house' match (adopters from the same LA)

For this reason, VA's tend to deal with harder to place children (siblings, older, disabled etc). However this is not a hard and fast rule - you might get a young white child without serious disabilities through a VA. Eg. if the LA have such a child and that child needs to move county for their own safety, the LA may look to a VA's pool of parents. However it really depends on the VA and where they are geographically, and they will tell you what sort of children they usually place

3kings Fri 05-Oct-12 21:06:53

wow! real eye opener! Many thanks to all. thanks Was going to pick up the phone to Barnardos this pm grin to start asking questions.

Last question: when we talk about local authority do we mean county/borough? So are we talking Essex or Waltham Abbey (place in Essex)? And is it a good idea to take on a child that comes from down the road? Just thinking about relatives, neighbours, etc. that might bump into you on the street and recognize the child. Is it a good idea to go further afield, like 2 counties away?

once again many thanks.

MyDogEatsPoop Fri 05-Oct-12 21:13:53

You might need the next county/borough over, precisely because of this! They generally like you to be within an hours drive though.

Moomoomie Fri 05-Oct-12 21:21:17

Essex itself is a big county, so the locality is not always a problem.
LA's do not tend to place a child within the same town as birth parents, although in my experience birth parents tend to travel about a lot, so could end up closer than you think.
A few children are often placed outside of county for this reason.
Personally, I would suggest you contact Essex council adoption services and take it from there.

Lilka Fri 05-Oct-12 21:24:02

LA is a city or county council eg. Essex County Council or Bristol City Council etc. If you are in london, then a borough council, but I don't think any other boroughs in England/Wales are adoption agencies (happy to be corrected of course). And to the best of my knowledge, all county councils are adoption agencies, with some cities also having a seperate adoption service

Yes, the risk of being recognised means that some small counties only assess potential adopters from different counties, and if you live in a small county, it can be better to go with a neighbouring LA, not your own. Or your local LA may not be looking for any adopters at this moment so you may go further for that reason etc

Lilka Fri 05-Oct-12 21:25:02

However Essex is big so you should be fine in that respect - you shouldn't be placed with a child whose birth family live very near you

3kings Fri 05-Oct-12 22:33:49

just looked up Essex CCouncil and they are not accepting new enquiries until late autumn.
Also you have to be within 30ms of one of their three offices - which is fine.

There is also a great big warning that they do not accept adopters who are only looking for "young, white children with uncomplicated backgrounds." A bit harsh...

Might have to try Kent, Herts, Cambridgeshire.... It's a bit like driving to Cornwall: you know it's a long journey, but you also know you will love it when you get there!

Devora Fri 05-Oct-12 22:59:07

I have heard good things about Barnardos, but with every agency you will find people who have had good and not-so-good experiences. I believe they are probably not great at post-adoption support, because so many agencies are not.

I strongly recommend you DO talk to them, and to all the adoption agencies within an hour's drive from you. You are looking for an agency that is friendly, professional, and thinks they will have a child to place with you at some stage. Adoption is a marketplace: you are looking for someone who wants what you offer and you may have to talk to a number of agencies before you find the one that is right for you.

LocoParentis Sun 07-Oct-12 13:52:38

you can check their ofsted reports as well you know, to help you chose which one to drive to.

Cheltenhamgirl Wed 17-Oct-12 07:34:45

We have decided to go with barnados as we found our LA not to respond to us as quickly as we'd like. Things seem to be going ok so so far.

Kewcumber Wed 17-Oct-12 12:43:29

There is also a great big warning that they do not accept adopters who are only looking for "young, white children with uncomplicated backgrounds." A bit harsh... I don't think its harsh - I think its probably born out of dealing with hundreds of prospective adopters who drop out when the reality of adoption is explained. It probably reduces a lot of people wasting their time.

NanaNina Wed 17-Oct-12 15:10:29

I agree with all the informative posts you have had 3 kings - I would just add that VO's like Barnardoes don't "promote" approved adoptors to the LA, they sell them. As has been pointed out LAs will not buy approved adoptors from VO's simply because they do not have the finance available. In my experience LAs SSDs have been under resourced for many years (like many other public services) but since this govt was elected, they have slashed the budgets of all public services, and at the same time want improved services. Cameron wants adoptions to be speeded up, but this can't happen with fewer and fewer social workers, and he doesn't make it clear what he means by "speeded up" - imo a comprehensive assessment is absolutely essential. I don't think he knows what he means either!

This lack of funding does mean unfortunately that children who have Placement Orders (made by the Court meaning that the child can be placed for adoption) will be fostered, whilst awaiting an "in-house" adoption placement, and of course the older the child, their chances of adoption grow more and more remote.

I also agree with LAs saying they are not recruiting adoptors who are looking for a young child without any complications. They do not have the finance to be training applicants for something for which there is no need. The need for adoption nationally is for children with disabilities, sibling groups and older children (middle years age) although many children awaiting adoption have little hope after they are about 7, especially if they are boys. Well that was what was happening in the LA with whom I worked for a very long time.

I wonder what age range you are thinking of 3 kings but I also agree that you cannot lose anything by approaching as many neighbouring LAs as you wish and VOs. When talking with VOs (like Barnardoes) how many children of the age range you are interested in they have placed in the past 2 years.

I am aware that even though the task of post-adoption support is a duty on LAs, but of course they do not have the staff to carry this out. The VOs will only provide post-adoption support if the LA will pay, and this is the reason why Barnardoes may not be offering post adoption support.

The other thing is that many of the VOs do not explain to applicants that they do not have children and they have to sell families to the LA and it depends on whether the LA have the funding to buy the family. It is therefore highly likely as many posters have already said, that it is the children/sibling groups with more complicated backgrounds that LAs may have to buy such a family from the VOs.

So 3kings you could innocently ask the VOs (like Barnardoes) how the system works and whether they have children to place etc etc and if they use words like promote the families, press them to explain what this means!

There are some LAs who have a contract with VOs (like Barnardoes) to provide families for specific children e.g. children with profound disabilities, respite care for disabled children etc. but I have been retired for some years and I suspect these contracts no longer exist because of lack of funding.

24blackbirds Sun 11-Nov-12 09:31:51

Hi
Congratulations on starting on this life fulfilling journey. We adopted three times using Cabrini. The benefit of using an outside agency is they are focused on your adoption, & don't have other aspects of social work to do. Cabrini in particular are very supportive offering on going courses, social events & help on the phone or will visit. They also have a much lower failure rate than L.A. In contrast I do have a friend that has used L.A & all has gone well. Maybe best to explore all avenues and go with what feels best for you.

3kings all the best with your journey. Hope things work out well.

Just out of interest to anyone reading I had a good chat with Buckinghamshire County Council and they seemed very keen for adopters, no further details I am afraid but I found their number on the Internet.

helensparkles Sat 17-Aug-13 11:13:07

The LA has the children and you can go on the adoption register after 3 months anyway, which means you can go further afield for children. Everyone thinks that LAs are slow and clunky with beauracracy, but actually (generally) they are filled with very experienced social workers who will assess you in a way which supports a good match, benefitting you all. For a lifelong commitment to a child who has experienced trauma, why would you want the assessment speeded up?

allthingswillpass Sat 17-Aug-13 11:43:18

Very old post ......

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