Well that was a shock wasn't it? Last Friday, just over a week ago, it was announced that BAAF - the British Association of Adoption and Fostering was closing, immediately. Here's the statement from the BAAF Chief Executive.
Through The Adoption Social I often see press releases, sometimes we get direct emails from adoption organisations asking us to share their news, but this news didn't arrive this way. I happened to see a tweet mid-afternoon on Friday and immediately got in touch with Sarah (from The Puffin Diaries, and my partner in crime on The Adoption Social) to see if she'd heard.
After sharing the link to the announcement on The Adoption Social's Facebook page, I soon started to see others sharing and retweeting it, all with the same level of shock. I don't have much direct experience with BAAF myself, but my timelines on Twitter and Facebook are full of surprise, I even saw a thread on Mumsnet about it!
Now, of course it's sad. Having been made redundant myself, I feel for those poor staff members who will be left without a job. But here's how I see it (based on the very limited information that's been put out there):
Most of the core services will be operated by Coram instead now. So, service users/adopters/professionals/adoptees should not lose out. It might work well for all of us too? Fresh eyes on those services might mean some of them change and improve.
Adoption Link - love them or loathe them - already run other services that fill in the gaps of the now Coram/CoramBAAF run services.
This leaves space for newer, forward thinking organisations. As one of the main players in the adoption support (and I use that term loosely) world, you really needed BAAF onside to get heard or taken seriously, but with their 'traditional' views, communication methods and services, this was always going to be difficult for new/alternative/activist/small/modern organisations. Perhaps the tide is turning?
Now is the time to look further to have your support needs met. You know, Adoption UK and BAAF are not the only adoption organisations that exist (or existed) - yes, there's Adoption Link and the First4Adoption website, there's Coram, Barnardo's and After Adoption. There's also The Open Nest, The Adoption Social, The Potato Group, individual adoptive parents, We Are Family, the new Single Adopters Network, The Yellow Kite, Post Adoption Centre, TACT, Family Futures and many more local organisations too. They might even be better placed to help you with your needs!
My concern however is that if BAAF can't sustain itself, then can these other organisations? What is the wider implication of BAAF closing it's doors?
And whilst Coram does a good job of supporting families in England, what of those in Ireland, and Wales who will be losing out? (Scotland are being looked after as some services transfer to a Scottish organisation).
And how can Coram - even if the legal part is strictly speaking a separate entity - effectively and independently run the reviewing mechanism that they are taking on?
What are your thoughts? If you have a blog, then you can write a post and link up to The Adoption Social here. If you don't then please leave your comments below, or contact me and I might be able to offer you a guest spot here on The Boy's Behaviour.