Following public nominations and a judging panel Adoption Matters and Caritas Care today (24 September) receive commended agency status for 2021 by New Family Social’s LGBT+ adopter and foster carer members. The announcement comes at the close of the charity’s Adoption & Fostering Support Week for LGBT+ parents.
Some 130 nominations and testimonials for agencies and social workers were received from LGBT+ people at different stages of the adoption and fostering process.
The two commended agencies received the highest numbers of nominations and the most compelling evidence from LGBT+ adopters and foster carers.
Armed forces charity SSAFA was awarded a Rising Star commendation. This was in recognition of powerful feedback from LGBT+ families who adopted with its support.
Adoption NoW’s Elaine Baxter receives the ‘Above & Beyond Social Worker 2021’ commendation. Tesni Toulliou from Adopt London South is the 2021 ‘Making A Real Difference Social Worker’. CCS Adoption’s Andrea M receives the ‘Social Worker Allyship Commendation 2021’.
Tor Docherty, chief executive of New Family Social said: ‘Record numbers of LGBT+ people now adopt and foster in the UK. Selecting the right agency to go on your parenting journey is key for any LGBT+ potential applicant. We’re thrilled that so many LGBT+ people shared praise for a broad range of agencies and social workers. If you’re LGBT+ and considering adoption or fostering the experiences of others in your position will hopefully help inform your choices.’
New Family Social members’ commended agency 2021 – Adoption Matters
Norman Goodwin, CBE, Adoption Matters Chief Executive said: ‘We’re honoured to be a New Family Social Commended Agency, especially as we were nominated by our own families. Vulnerable children need families who are resilient, empathic and who’ll advocate for them at every stage in their lives .Our experience has shown us that our LGBT+ families have these qualities in abundance.’
New Family Social’s nominating members said: ‘[Adoption Matters is] so child centred, very supportive and really really had our back through complications’
New Family Social members’ commended agency 2021 – Caritas Care
Susan Swarbrick, CEO at Caritas Care said: ‘We’re so pleased and continue to give out our message that EVERYONE is welcome at Caritas Care. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive charity and have LGBT+ Social Workers within our teams. We ensure that each team member has undertaken training on all aspects of their work and promotes equal opportunities at all times for everyone we work with.’
New Family Social’s nominating members said: ‘[Caritas Care] should be marked as the Gold standard for other agencies.’
New Family Social members’ ‘Rising Star’ Agency commendation 2021 - SSAFA
Jill Farrelly, Head of Adoption at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said: ‘SSAFA champions equality and diversity, with our adoption service welcoming applications from the whole of the serving military community. The team’s Social Workers and Adoption Panel members have specialist training in LGBT+ adoption. We’re very proud of our record in recruiting and supporting LGBT+ adopters with over 40 per cent of our approvals being same sex couples in 2020.’
New Family Social’s nominating members praised SSAFA for ‘[its] ongoing openness to learn and improve around sexual orientation, gender identity and promoting inclusivity’
New Family Social members’ ‘Above & Beyond Social Worker 2021’ – Elaine Baxter, Adoption NoW
Watch Elaine Baxter’s acceptance speech on YouTube
New Family Social’s nominating members said: ’[Elaine] stayed with us until our next social worker was identified and kept in contact throughout. Even now she still checks in’
New Family Social members’ ‘Making a Difference Social Worker 2021’ – Tesni Tolliou, Adopt London South
Tesni Tolliou from Adopt London said: ‘I’m very honoured and humbled at being selected for just doing the job that I love. To be someone that our families can turn to and rely on is a real privilege.’
New Family Social’s nominating members said: ‘[Tesni] really 'gets' us and understands our kids and what they need. She’s super efficient at researching, applying for and arranging the support we’re looking for. We feel really lucky to have her as our allocated contact for post adoption support.’
New Family Social members’ ‘Allyship Award 2021’ – Andrea M, CCS Adoption
Speaking of receiving the Allyship Award Commendation, Andrea M said: ‘I’m hugely thankful to have been recognised in this way. It’s a real privilege to do the work that I do and for families to allow me to be alongside them in such life changing times. I continue to be in awe of the families I work with, their strength and resilience, in particular in the last 18 months and hope to continue to be part of their world for many years to come”.
New Family Social’s nominating members said: ‘[Andrea] values the differences we bring as a same-sex couple, and the specific experiences we had that would help us support our son through relatable struggles (dealing with prejudice, proactive and positive advocacy, anticipating barriers to equity).’
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Adoption & Fostering Support Week for LGBT+ parents