Interview with Scottish Adoption

Margaret Moyes, CEO of Scottish Adoption, talks about how the families they work with have been affected by the pandemic.

  1. What have been the specific issues for the families you work with during the pandemic?

While some children and their adoptive parents have coped brilliantly well during this time, and even benefitted in terms of being able to use the period at home to enjoy time together and strengthen family relationships, this has unfortunately not been true for everyone. Some of our adoptive families have struggled with:

  • children’s challenging behaviour within a context of their anxiety and insecure attachment
  • social isolation for families who have not been able to utilise their own informal support networks
  • adoptive parents’ own anxieties regarding family members, health, job insecurity etc impacting on their parenting
  • adopted teenagers have particularly struggled in terms of their emotional wellbeing and this has impacted on them and their families
  • there was a period when no children were able to transition from their foster placements to adoptive placements and this was difficult for both the foster carers and adoptive parents.
  1. How have your services adapted and responded?

All our staff are now home-based and we’ve been able to keep most of our services going:

  • Since June we’ve been making adoption placements – working creatively with local authorities to enable children to safely transition from all around the UK.
  • Initially almost all our work with adoptive families (except emergency situations) switched to online. Currently we now have a more balanced approach with some support continuing online but risk-assessed home visits and group work resumed. Our therapists have resumed some direct work with children.
  • Our Information Meetings, Preparation Groups, Approval Panels, Workshops, Training is now all online and will continue this way for the foreseeable future.
  • We’ve introduced a range of new support services e.g. Teen Talk (where older teenagers support younger teenagers), a monthly online peer support group for adoptive parents and some outdoor groups for children.
  1. What are the issues arising for families that you work with now?

Since coming out of lockdown we’ve seen the demand for support increase significantly. We’re dealing with a number of crisis situations, particularly with teenagers. Some younger children have regressed in their security and wellbeing which is putting stress on their parents’ coping mechanisms.  Some adoptive parents are reporting high anxiety and low confidence levels as they look ahead.

  1. What needs to happen to help families that you work with now?

Our top three would be:

  • keeping schools open
  • improved mental health support for young people
  • growing Scottish Adoption’s support and therapy services to ensure more families can access these (a financial challenge prevents us doing this at present).