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Societal Impact

A partnership which places children who wait the longest for adoption in Wales.

Adopting Together

Adopting together

It is challenging to find permanent homes for children in care who are aged 4 years and over, especially when in sibling groups. Many of these children can have their adoption plans changed to long-term fostering and can be separated from their brothers and sisters.

In 2019, the National Adoption Service in Wales evidenced a shortfall in adopter numbers by almost a third since 2014, with a consequent 64% increase in the number of children waiting for a family. There was also an increase in the number of ‘priority’ children waiting over 12 months to find a family.

Funded by Welsh Government, the KTP was a collaboration between St. David’s Children Society, Cardiff University School of Psychology and Cardiff Business School. Supported by the National Adoption Service Cymru the KTP purpose was to strengthen adoption services, with the Adopting Together Service growing from a need identified to find families for children who wait the longest and were most at risk of having their plans changed to long term fostering arrangements.

Adopting Together is a therapeutically informed service for children who wait the longest for an adoptive family. Its evolution was shaped through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Cardiff University, Welsh Government and St David’s Children Society - an adoption specialist dedicated to finding families for vulnerable children across Wales..

The KTP has acted as an enabler of collaboration using the expertise of academic, therapeutic, statutory and voluntary sector partners to find adoptive families for some of the most vulnerable children in Wales. We are grateful for the support of Welsh Government in facilitating this unique relationship which is now going from strength to strength and to Innovate UK for recognising this sector leading approach to social care.

Wendy Keidan, CEO, St David’s Children Society

Increasing placements

This partnership enabled St David’s Children’s Society to use our academic expertise, translating research findings from the Wales Adoption Cohort Study into a practical methodology to facilitate the adoption of children who wait the longest for a permanent family. This was achieved by working with other statutory and voluntary sector partners that make up the National Adoption Service in Wales and a therapeutic partner.

By gathering expertise from clinical psychologists and therapeutic social workers, Adopting Together has improved the lives of many children by delivering early intervention and increasing the number of placements of children who wait for adoption.

To date Adopting Together has:

  • 25 children placed with their adoptive parents since 2018 (many of whom were on the cusp of having plans changed from adoption to long term fostering)
  • Secured a financial return of £14.4M
  • Now referenced as part of the standard protocols for all social work professionals in Wales.

In addition to this, the KTP project was graded outstanding by KTN and received the Societal Impact Award at the 2021 Innovate UK KTP Awards.