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It's on again, new location - Finding me a family

(26 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Tue 12-Dec-17 23:09:50

It's on again, new location - Finding me a family.

I am watching now on an hour later on Channel 4.

www.channel4.com/programmes/finding-me-a-family

Battleax Wed 13-Dec-17 01:29:52

Awful. Really uncomfortable.

Italiangreyhound Thu 14-Dec-17 00:53:57

Battleax what did you think was uncomfortable? I thought it was brilliant. Just sad that no matches were made.

Battleax Thu 14-Dec-17 01:16:50

There are two levels to it, aren't there?

1) That the matching events are held at all. First UK one was what? Ten years ago? So the argument is that the end justifies the means. Maybe. But I never like that argument. It's a dangerous way of thinking. But maybe it's necessary to have the events.

2) That they're televising it. Which is what is happening, however you dress it up.

However much I try to talk myself round about 1), I completely trip up at 2). This should be completely private, if it really has to happen at all.

Italiangreyhound Thu 14-Dec-17 02:40:40

Battleax I will agree it is heartbreaking that so many children are without families but the adoption activity days have a very good matching rate for harder to place children. So 1) I am very happy these activity days happen as I have heard one in four children who attend will find a family.

2) It's televised and that means that a) approved adopters will potentially get in touch and express interest in children featured on the programme,.
Or b) approved adopters will open their horizons a bit (I was quite keen to adopt a girl but watching an earlier version of this about 4 or so years ago meant I was more open and we did adopt a boy) .
And lastly, c) potentially, those who had not considered being adopters, or perhaps foster carers, will be inspired (potentially) to adopt or to foster (long or short term).

All those potentially good outcomes from a documentary.

Sadly, it cannot be completely private because it is too important an issue for our society, IMHO. And most likely the only people watching will be those who have a genuine interest and concern for children.

Italiangreyhound Thu 14-Dec-17 02:41:26

"if it really has to happen at all." How could these hard to place children be matched without this type of activity?

EastDulwichWife Mon 18-Dec-17 11:37:45

I have found these two docs eye opening. My husband and I have never seriously considered adoption, but I agree with Italiangreyhound - we've actually been having serious discussions about children in the care system and even whether we could be foster carers ourselves since watching these. For those who have not considered this route, they are a really good starting point for conversations within families.

It's incredibly sad that these days have to happen, but if the placing rates are good they can only benefit the children and to-be parents, surely?

EastDulwichWife Mon 18-Dec-17 11:41:07

I should have touched on the privacy issue, which is major. I'm surprised the faces aren't blurred. Seems peculiar they are allowed to do this and I'm amazing the SWs and Coram are okay with it.

Jellycatspyjamas Mon 18-Dec-17 13:34:03

I'm not sure 25% is a good enough rate tbh and I'd be interested to know if that's how many make it to placement, or just those who express an interest. It's one thing to have your heartstrings pulled at an event and quite another to then think of the child/children as part of your family.

I think televising it in a way that potentially identifies the kids is awful - kids in the system get precious little privacy without their "hard to placeness" being on record for all time I'm such a public way.

Lalou17 Mon 18-Dec-17 18:10:28

We havnt yet been to our adoption information evening but will be attending ours in January.
Every time me & my partner have ever spoken about adopting a child we have always swayed towards the babies.. but since watching these two programs it has really opened our eyes & has totally changed our view on things.
If the program has done this for us then most likely will have for allot of other people.. it is so sad that the slightly older & sibling groups are harder to place.. will defenatly be more open minded now smile
Everyone deserves a forever family that loves them x

Jellycatspyjamas Mon 18-Dec-17 18:20:06

I guess though the reality is they're harder to place for a reason. They're usually significantly affected by early experiences, often have had a number of care placements and disrupted attachment patterns which mean older children are very hard to settle indeed. It's very easy to be swayed by big brown eyes or a curly haired cutie but potential adopters need to be honest about what they can cope with and the very real challenges that come with older kids and sibling groups.

I'm all for folk having their eyes opened to other possibilities but it needs to matched with an awareness of what you're walking into, which these events are less good at highlighting.

Italiangreyhound Mon 18-Dec-17 19:21:09

But jelly not all those who are older have had multiple carers. The boy featured in the last episode appeared to be with only one foster carer.

Is privacy something children need more than a family? To me that is an adult perspective.

Battleax Mon 18-Dec-17 19:28:06

It's an adult responsibility to provide it.

I can't quite believe you don't think it's a concern at all italian. What is the point in safeguarding children's stories as "theirs to share" once they come home, if you're broadcasting the "hard to place" status of LAC to the nation?

Battleax Mon 18-Dec-17 19:28:40

That you think it ISN'T a concern...^

Jellycatspyjamas Mon 18-Dec-17 21:05:10

Depending on the age of the child though one foster placement can also be challenging. My DC had one foster placement for the three years they were in care - this has thrown up many more issues than their birth family at this point, though I expect that will change in time.

What I'm saying is that children deemed difficult to place are actually difficult to place - it's not a figment of some SW imagination that there might be challenges in placing them. My two were deemed difficult to place, and early placement has been hard as hell - very worth it but very challenging. Someone watching my two would think they're adorable (which they are) and totally miss the signs that they are in fact deeply traumatised. I'm wary of agencies tugging on heart strings to get adopters on board having fallen in love with the public face of the child and glossing over the information that would make someone wary of oresebted on paper without a little personality attached to it.

We went into our match with our eyes wide open and it's been hard. I think events like this can lead to a heart over head decision which isn't necessarily a good thing for children with challenges.

And yes, I do think privacy is important - there are clearly other ways to family find for these children so it's not necessary to put their stories out there.

Jellycatspyjamas Mon 18-Dec-17 21:06:39

And I say that from long experience of working with looked after children who were mightily weary of feeling like everyone knew every single detail of their lives so no, it's not an adult perspective.

Italiangreyhound Tue 19-Dec-17 21:39:42

Battleax I didn't't say it was not a concern but on balance prioritizing privacy over ever having a family seems a strange and adult-led priority. People do not know those children's life stories. All they know is the child's first name, what they look like at age 6 and that through no fault of their own they have found themselves in the care system. How does this compromise them? Surely those with dangerous birth parents or difficult, complex issues would not be featured.

How does the information in these programmes get used to disadvantage these children?

They are not hard to place because of something intrinsic to them as people but due to their age or the fact they are part of a sibling group. Yes, I can see the medical issues are more personal but again what nefarious mileage has anyone in this?

"It's an adult responsibility to provide it." And there in lies the rub, no one adult or couple truely has these children's backs. And until that adult or couple is found there is really a wide open space so a small risk of limited information verses the chance of a forever family.

I know what I would choose for myself or my kids if this were the issue I had to choose on. In am age of over information where we see intimate operations performed on tv, where people share the contents of their breakfast on Facebook, really who is interested in these kids names and faces. I sincerely hope only those with a genuine interest in adoption, and anyone else would not be permitted access to them, I think.

Jelly yes, people may be swayed but might they not by a cute photo? Do you ban photos? Presumably you were chosen for your child/rem not just because you put yourself/yourselves forward but because you were deemed to have the skills required.

I. Truelu sorry your child's foster placement was do bad.

Italiangreyhound Tue 19-Dec-17 21:41:30

Jelly what do you know about the kids featured? The only ones where I felt more information was given was the medical needs. And I do think that was a little questionable.

Jellycatspyjamas Tue 19-Dec-17 22:16:48

It's not about whether someone is watching the programme with nefarious intent, it's about a child having the same right to privacy as anyone else. A child in the care system isn't public property, their lives aren't public property - some of these kids need to go back into with their classmates possibly commenting on the programme, with people who know them as Jamie in P1 now knowing that Jamie is in the care system pending adoption, with kids whose parents may have discussed Jamie over the breakfast table, possibly in less than complimentary terms.

They may have virtual strangers asking them if they found a new mum and dad after the programme or if they're going to another event soon etc - basically televising these events means kids don't have the choice about who, when and where they discuss their circumstances and who with. I've worked both assessing kids to tell their story in various media and have also picked up the pieces with kids when the outcome and impact of media involvement wasn't at all what was expected so I do hold strong views born out of pretty hard experience.

Privacy is a most basic human right, in its own right, not because someone might wish to do another person harm but because we have a right to decide what we do or don't share with others and in what setting.

As an adult who had full control I found the matching process incredibly exposing - I can imagine how it would feel for a young person to realise just how "out there" their private circumstances were particularly at events that are basically marketing events for difficult to place children.

Battleax Wed 20-Dec-17 00:46:03

basically televising these events means kids don't have the choice about who, when and where they discuss their circumstances and who with.

Yes, that's what feels so wrong, taking that away.

comehomemax Wed 20-Dec-17 08:10:41

I watched the first episode but hadn't realised it was a series which does make me uncomfortable. I have no issues with the events themselves but televising them made me very uncomfortable - the children have no say in it and a look on Twitter after the first episode showed multiple comments about weepy people wanting to adopt all of them or how adorable they all are and its ridiculous that adopters are allowed to 'pick', or how love is all they need. I really didn't get a sense that taking in a family of 4 was anything more complex than having the space - and that was reflected back also in the comments.

Italian, You commented above that the fact it's televised means new adopters may come forward but I'm very sceptical of that - one, because family finding via a tv show with ratings etc is inappropriate as its not balanced or accurate and that isn't the aim of the show. Also, would approved adopters able take a sibling group and approved to do so (bearing in mind the show was filmed months ago) really gain anything by watching the show that they don't already know? The tone, content and positioning of the show didn't feel aimed at adopters, it was aimed at the general public - so it's ultimately about entertainment.

Lalou17 Wed 20-Dec-17 09:43:49

For those considering adoption, like us.. we didn't find it entertaining at all, it was quite upsetting really seeing all the children that are hard to place.. but very helpful at the same time (For us, as we have no idea what to expect) but like I said, I know not Every one will agree as were all entitled to our own opinions .. and I see good points from both sides x

Kmetsch3 Wed 20-Dec-17 15:59:38

I help find Foster carers for a Council.
In my experience, this sort of programme stimulates a lot of discussions about fostering and adoption.
These discussions lead people to make the next step and consider becoming adopters or Foster carers.
This means there are more potential homes for LAC.

I don’t like the voyeuristic nature, but if we have more careers, then the end probably justifies the means.

Italiangreyhound Wed 20-Dec-17 19:35:48

Jelly "Privacy is a most basic human right" So is the right to family life.

Anyway, I have nothing to do with these documentaries. I just feel they will potentially have positive outcomes for these kids and others like them.

If kids did not want to take part I hope their desire for privacy would be respected.

Were the kids you mentioned, "looked after children who were mightily weary of feeling like everyone knew every single detail of their lives so no" as young as 6? And again how many details of their lives were exposed in the programme, except medical, which I agree is problematic?

"it's not an adult perspective" maybe not but I don't think it is a six year old's perspective either. My 13 year old is a child, but very private. I think younger kids may have fewer inhibitions. Should they feel embarrassed to be in the Cate system/ I agree re kids at school but the documentary was on at 9.00. I hope other six year olds would be on bed.

Anyway Jelly I don't need to convince you either way, nor you me. Someone else is making these documentaries and I sincerity hope they are doing so with these children's best interests at heart.

All I can say is I can see pluses that outweighed the minuses and I feel the fact thousands of children are in the care of local authority is not a reflection on these kids.

Plus finding them families should not be hampered by the idea that knowing individuals are in care is worse than potentially those children not being found families.

The sort of parents who would discuss a looked after child in a documentary in front of their own child might be just as likely to discuss said child anyway. I doubt if children's looked after status is always private, even if it should be.

Anyway Jelly I respect your views and perspective and hope we can agree in our own ways we have these children's best interests at heart?

3minsbeforebedtime Thu 21-Dec-17 09:21:45

I was in a children's home at age 5 to 6, and I featured in a newpaper, and what jelly has said is exactly right. What comehomemax said about people thinking you just need enough room is right too.

I think there are other much better ways of creating interest. I think a well made documentary which is more informative about the many issues surrounding adoption as well as including information about children waiting is more likely to attract the right sort of person. Children really should have their faces blanked out.

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