Friday, 4 March 2011

A Week In The Life Of...An Adoption Recruitment Officer

Nicole Harman from the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea adoption team tell us about her role as Fostering and Adoption Recruitment Project Officer.

My role encompasses the advertising and marketing of adoption services, which involves placing adverts for families – prospective adopters – into various media, plus getting word out about children waiting for adoptive families.

We place adverts with a freephone number, aimed at encouraging those people who wish to know more about adoption to contact us. On calling, prospective adopters speak to a social worker who asks a few questions about their background, their partner, where they live etc and most importantly, why they wish to adopt a child. If the caller would like further information, an information pack is sent to them. They are also informed about the forthcoming events and invite them to attend. These meetings are held on a 6 weekly basis and are open to members of the public who wish to hear more about adoption. Following attendance at this meeting, if a prospective adopter wishes to proceed further, they are asked to contact the Adoption Team Manager to this effect and if it seems appropriate, two social workers will visit to provide further information and hear more about the prospective adopter’s interest in adoption.

In my job, I am conscious that adoption is a service for children and our aim is to recruit prospective adopters who can meet the needs of our children waiting. Therefore, from time to time, it may well happen that we have sufficient adopters waiting and in the assessment process. On such occasions, we advise prospective adopters that whilst we are unable to provide them with a service at present, they should approach our neighbouring boroughs, who are also members of our Adoption Consortium and who may be very willing to recruit them. I provide the prospective adopter with the appropriate telephone numbers and suggest they contact the Adoption Duty Social Worker who will be able to offer them support and advice.

For me, my role is about ensuring the prospective adopter has a positive experience when they make an enquiry and that they are fully supported in having their interest in adoption validated and heard.  I actually love my job – it’s the kind of job where yes, it is hard work and you have to be very pedantic with getting the information right, but perseverance and going the “extra mile” reaps rewards and ensures those spontaneous moments of press coverage for our children live with me. It’s about taking an opportunity and making it positive and that’s what I try to do thereby enabling children to have a second chance at family life.

NB: Agencies will undertake the same recruitment tasks but might vary slightly in some internal processes such as how many social workers might visit or the frequency of information evenings.

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