Barnsley Council is boosting its adoption service by holding special life appreciations days.
The day brings together prospective adopters and those who know the child or children best, such as foster carers, teachers and social workers.
The aim is to help prospective adopters discover all the information held by professionals who have worked with the child.
Adopters can questions, gain some insight into what the child has experienced and understand how this may impact upon their emotions and behaviour.
Marianna Corbett, adoption social worker from Barnsley Council, said: “The consistent feedback from prospective adopters has been that life appreciation days really help bring the child to life and prepare them for the future.
“After a recent ‘day’ for a seven-year-old girl, the prospective adopters commented that they felt as if they had really started to bond with her over the course of the day. Hearing about her life right from day one through to the present day really helped them get to know her and they felt ready to parent her as an individual little person.
“Whilst it is difficult to measure exactly how life appreciation days contribute to the success of an adoption placement; we know it is crucial that adopters have as much information as possible before committing to a child.
“During meetings held after placement breakdowns, adopters often say that had they known what they were taking on, they would never have done so – Life Appreciation Days give adopters the opportunity to find out what they are taking on from all professionals involved in the child’s life, before making a final decision. Rather than relying on one person’s interpretation of the child, they get to hear from everybody.”
The council is taking part in a campaign to attract new children’s social workers and raise industry standards by sharing examples of best practice, such as the life appreciation days.
The Children’s Social Work Matters campaign brings together fifteen local authorities across Yorkshire and the Humber to raise awareness of the work they do and tackle misconceptions about the job.