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This week (4th – 10th November) is National Adoption Week and solicitors from the Family Law team at Canter Levin & Berg have been sharing some of their thoughts on the work they do with families looking to adopt and adopted children.
Running since 1997, National Adoption Week is organised by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) and aims to dispel several of the myths and misconceptions concerning adopted children and the adoptions process. Throughout this week and next, advice clinics are being run across the country, including here in Liverpool, for people who might be considering adopting a child.
The National Adoption Week campaign is focused this year on harder to place children such as sibling groups, children with disabilities, and children aged 5 and over. Throughout the week, the aim of the campaign is to encourage people who might be interested to come forward to find out more about adopting these children, who wait the longest, as well as children from some black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Speaking about National Adoption Week and her experiences working with children in the Social Care System, Solicitor and Head of Family Law at Canter Levin & Berg, Hazel Roberts said:
"For many different reasons there are more and more children who are unable to return to the care of their birth families. Unfortunately, there are less and less adoptive parents available to offer these children the permanent and loving family home every child deserves. This week is about raising awareness, in a hope that some, if not all of these children can have a permanent family to grow up in. It is about presenting opportunities to families to open up their homes to these children, and reassuring them that the process is no longer as it was. I’m sure those who have already adopted would affirm how rewarding adoption of a child can be."
As well as it being National Adoption Week, this week has also seen the launch of a new campaign to boost fostering, led by former Liverpool and England footballer Mark Wright, who is himself a foster carer. The Mark Wright 10k Campaign, as it is known, aims to highlight the shortage of foster carers in the UK. There are currently 62,000 children in foster care in the UK and the aim of Mark’s campaign is to recruit another 10,000 carers to look after these children.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign at his old club’s home ground, Anfield, Mark said:
“We want to make people more aware by pulling on the heart strings. There are so many vulnerable, hurt, abused and neglected young people in this country who need to be looked after better. They need stability and love and affection in their lives. I have four children of my own and one foster child.
My wife got me into this. I wasn’t aware of how many children needed help because they’ve been let down in their lives. My wife and I wanted to help improve children’s lives. I want to raise awareness across the country about it. I think many people are wary of fostering. Yes, there are forms to fill in and training to be done and it can be challenging but it’s also massively rewarding. With our little girl it’s shown that a long-term placement can change a child’s life for the better.”