Children and prospective adoptive families had the chance to meet and get to know each other at a fun packed activity day in Devon this weekend.

The event was book and film character themed and everyone involved had a chance to dress up and take part in activities which are designed to bring adopters and children together in play.

Children enjoyed the face painting, ball pool and soft play, colouring in a big frieze, making masks in the crafts area, and dens out of cardboard boxes and lots of materials, and even building a magical castle! A magician and afternoon tea brought the day to a close and everyone went home with a beautiful party bag.

Torbay, Devon County and Plymouth City Councils are jointly hosting the activity days with the support of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF). Saturday’s event was the third activity day in Devon. They are designed to allow children to meet prospective families in a fun, informal setting.

50 children from Devon, Torbay and Plymouth Council areas, all awaiting adoption, including some who are harder to place due to their older age (over 3 years), their gender (older boys), and sibling groups, attended the event

This child-centred event, is quickly becoming established in the UK, having been popular for 30 years in United States where they have a record of leading to high numbers of adoptions. American studies show activity days to be twice as effective as any other method of family finding for children.

Preparing children and giving them the opportunity to be actively involved in the family finding process has been one of the biggest challenges of the project. They knew it was going to be a fun day and those children who are of sufficient age and understanding are told that it is an opportunity to meet families who want to adopt and also to meet other children who need a new family.

Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Children, Schools and Families, Ken Pritchard, said: “For adopters, the benefits are clear, the opportunity to meet real children, dispelling the myths about children in care, having the opportunity to think more widely about what they can offer a child as potential parents and gaining more confidence.

“For foster carers, it’s a chance to be more involved in the family finding process and for social workers, this is about having the opportunity to spend quality time with their child, improving practice in preparation of children for adoption and writing profiles.”

“It’s a wonderful experience for the children in helping to find a family for them to grow up in, having the opportunity to meet other children like them and meet families who are thinking of adopting, and knowing that everything possible is being done to find an adoptive placement.

“I’d urge anyone who is considering adopting to find out more by calling 01803 207870 or visit our website - www.torbay.gov.uk/adoption.”

Louise Hocking, Director of Child Placement, BAAF, said: "After two very successful events earlier this year, BAAF was delighted to continue this innovative practice by again working in partnership to organise a third adoption activity day in the South West.

“Torbay, Devon and Plymouth are ensuring that local children awaiting adoption have the best possible chance of being matched for adoption through a well planned, supportive and fun event.”

More information about adopting can also be found at www.first4adoption.org.uk.


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