Adoption charity BAAF shuts its doors

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A CHARITY that has championed adoption and fostering, especially among Britain’s black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities has closed.

British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) closed with immediate effect on July 31.

In a statement, BAAF CEO Caroline Selkirk said: “In the face of significant changes and prevailing economic conditions, it has sadly not been possible to sustain the organization.”

CONCERNS

Experts have expressed concerns that BAAF’s closure will affect the needs of some 3,000 children waiting to be adopted.

They also fear it is a warning sign of difficult times ahead for the UK’s independent children’s charities that help some of the country’s most vulnerable children.

In its 35 years, BAAF led high profile campaigns for these children as well as highlighting the needs of BAME children.

With Felicity Collier, a former Director and CEO at the helm, BAAF launched National Adoption Week and was instrumental in raising awareness of private fostering and initiatives leading to significant changes in childcare policy.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of a House of Commons reception on private fostering, a groundbreaking event in association with The Voice, that resulted in a report on the subject and was the catalyst for subsequent initiatives that included most recently, a private fostering week launched in July.

As a leading research organisation, BAAF developed the internationally renowned Adoption and Fostering Journal, the only one in the UK focusing on this subject.

The journal, now published by SAGE, has brought together leading academics and practitioners to focus on issues such as multiculturalism, identity and family placement.

Starting out in November 1980, the organisation was the amalgamation of the Association of British Adoption and Fostering Agencies and the Adoption Resource Exchange dating back to the 1970s.

In 2001, it changed its name to the British Association for Adoption and Fostering later becoming known as BAAF.

REMEMBERED

BAAF will be remembered not only for National Adoption Week, which started in October 1997 but also for Adoption Activity Days, (known as Adoption Parties in the USA) which are a leading source for finding families for children from BAME backgrounds and children with disabilities; publishing the first anthology on transracial adoption by transracial adoptees; and launching the family finding magazine Be My Parent, responsible for spearheading the publication of children’s profiles in The Sun newspaper during National Adoption Week.

NEEDS

Significantly, in recognizing the needs of BAME adopters BAAF launched the Black Adopters’ Support Group, which saw take up via children’s groups from all over London.

Coram, the UK’s oldest children’s charity, has stepped forward to assume some of BAAF’s functions.

These include research, policy and development, membership services and professional development. Be My Parent has ceased publication and National Adoption Week, (19-25 October) will be managed by First4Adoption.

The organisation will now be known as the CoramBAAF Adoption and Fostering Academy, although its publicity brochures and leaflets refer to it as CoramBAAF.

A spokesperson for the new organisation said it would continue the work of raising awareness of the needs of BAME children and would launch new initiatives and project with this goal in mind.
Coram CEO Dr Carol Hornden expressed faih in the new organisation.

She said: “The CoramBAAF Adoption and Fostering Academy is a sustainable way forward, which enables the expertise of two organisations renowned for their work with looked after children to be shared to create better chances for children.”

Source: thevoiceonline.com

In : London

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