Anna Sharkey's Review of 2018 2018 has been another busy and extremely successful year for Adoption Focus. We have welcomed enquiries, questions and requests for information from hundreds of people looking to make informed decisions about whether adoption is the right choice for them. More and more of these people are deciding to adopt with us and, in response, we’ve increased the regularity of preparation training groups in order to accommodate them. Preparation process As more people register with Adoption Focus and extend their families with us, we’ve also expanded our adoption support service to offer more workshops, training, social events and direct support to our adopters. Attendance at our workshops, parties and play and stay sessions have been really good with tremendous feedback from both parents and children. All charitable donations we receive are spent on providing resources such as these for adopters. Our adoption support This year has seen us host more information events in more locations than ever before, with sessions taking place in Walsall, Warwick, Leicester and Lichfield in addition to our regular meetings in Birmingham, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Oxfordshire. These have been really well attended by individuals and couples looking to take their first steps towards adopting and we’re looking forward to talking adoption with more people at new locations during 2019. Our Adoption Information Events A routine Ofsted inspection took place earlier this year, and once again we were rated as an ‘Outstanding’ adoption service. We have now been awarded the highest possible rating by Ofsted on each of the three occasions we have been inspected. The inspector’s report stated that our actions "contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people” and that Adoption Focus "provides highly effective services that consistently exceed the standards of good". This year we’ve established new partnerships with the Christian charity Home For Good, with whom we work to raise awareness of the need for new adopters within the Church community, and with the Ahmadiyya Muslim organisation, Charity Walk For Peace, who have provided generous donations to help fund the work we do. We’ve also continued our longstanding partnership with New Family Social, the leading UK network for LGBT adoptive and foster families. In March we officially launched our early permanence service the Triangle Project, in partnership with our friends at St Francis’ Children’s Society in Milton Keynes. This innovation saw us establish the Triangle Project as an independent fostering agency, allowing us to make early permanence placements in which children are placed with foster carers who are also approved as adopters while decisions about their futures are made by the courts. Since launching, we have dual-approved several people carers who have gone on to be quickly chosen for either adoption or early permanence placements. In November the Triangle Project was visited by Ofsted for its first inspection and was rated as a ‘Good’ independent fostering agency. This is a very positive first assessment for an agency in its first year of operation and the report praised the Triangle Project for the service provided to dual-approved carers saying they were “welcomed, prepared and assessed well” and reporting that “carers speak highly of the agency and they feel very supported by their supervising social workers”. Most importantly of all, during 2018 we have placed 46 children with 35 new families. All the work we do is focused on providing loving, permanent homes for children who need them and excellent support for all of our adoptive families. Many, many thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our success – our staff, trustees, volunteers, supporters, colleagues from partner agencies and, above all, our amazing adopters. 2019 will see us celebrate 10 years as an independent agency and we’re looking forward to more good news stories over the next 12 months. Have a very happy new year. Anna SharkeyCEO, Adoption Focus Contact us Can I adopt?