Support groups

Intensive Adoptive Parent Support Groups

An adoptive parent's journey is complex and can be emotionally demanding. The ability to develop metacognitive skills for thinking about your child's mind when you are feeling under pressure has been called 'to mentalise'. This capacity to mentalise can help parents resist the impulse to react 'unthinkingly' in the face of extreme provocation and is a crucial aspect of a successful adoption. This group will promote the development of these techniques, which are rooted in current knowledge and experience.

The aim of the group is to provide a reflective space in which members can focus on the psychological and emotional issues that arise in day to day life with their adopted children; to share and process the feelings and gain support and understanding from each other. The outcome of the group is for parents to feel more confident in helping their children to develop emotionally and socially.

Groups are run in both east and west Kent throughout the year. Please email adoption.training@kent.gov.uk if you would like further details.

Incredible Years parenting programme

The Incredible Years evidence based parenting programs focus on strengthening parenting competencies and fostering parent involvement in children’s school experiences, to promote children’s academic, social and emotional skills and reduce conduct problems. Group sessions focus on: strengthening parent-child interactions, nurturing relationships, reducing harsh discipline, and fostering parents’ ability to promote children’s social, emotional, and language development.

STOP Programme

The STOP programme is a step-by-step course for parents with pre-teen or teenagers (10-16 year olds). The course aims to improve family communication through learning how to really listen and de-code what your pre-teen/teenager is saying or needing. As your pre-teen/teenager is developing and changing, this course will increase your knowledge on effective behaviour management skills which will help you, as a parent, feel in control yet still sensitively respond to your pre-teen/teenagers psychological, physical and emotional needs. The STOP Programme also gives information on key parental concerns for this age group such as drugs, drink, sexual health and aggression in young people. This course is mindful of parents/carers needs and emotions as well as the teenagers.

Adoption Advisory Board

The board is chaired by the Post Adoption Team Manager and aims to ensure adopter involvement (through being a critical friend) in relation to service development and continuous improvement. The board has advised the service in relation to new developments such as website content and design, the council’s recruitment campaign for adopters, the learning and development programme and the Christmas and summer events for adopters and children.

The Board meets quarterly. Membership includes new and experienced adopters, plus members of Kent County Council and Coram.

The adoption advisory board will be meeting on these dates this year:

  • 17 May 2017
  • 13 September 2017
  • 13 December 2017

The meetings are held at Lenham Community Centre and run from 18:30 until 20:00.

The Adoption Advisory Board would really welcome new members. If you are interested in attending or would like further information, please contact Post Adoption Support at PAST@Kent.gov.uk or on 03000 420508.

Kent’s Young Persons Participation Group

‘The Adoptables’ is a group initially set up by Coram comprising of adopted young people aged between 13 to 25 who get involved in a range of workshops and public appearances in order to raise awareness and improve services for adopted children and young people. Older members of the group (16 – 25 years) are able to become ‘Adoptable Ambassadors’ taking part in a weekend residential where they receive media training, public speaking training and personal development support. These Ambassadors then go on to speak on public platforms about their experiences and those of other adopted young people. They have spoken at conferences such as Coram BAAF and SEPAN and our Kent Ambassador recently presented at the Kent Adoption Education Conference.

Kent’s own participation group has now been going for over a year, having started in September 2015. It has grown over time and now consists of 11 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 years. The group meet approximately every 6 weeks either during a weekend, evening or school holiday where they work on specific projects, some of these being initiated by the group and others developed from requests within the adoption service.

The group has been involved in the initial stages of creating The Schools Tookit and in writing Information booklets for the social media Post Adoption workshop.

In October 2016 the group worked alongside the Coram Adoptables with a scriptwriter and theatre director where they created and performed a theatre production around their adoption journeys which they performed to parents, family and professionals at Stratford Circus Arts Theatre during National Adoption Week. Members of the group also recently met with the corporate parenting panel to share the hard work they have been doing in Kent to further develop and improve services for adopted young people and to share their experiences. The panel have asked the group to return in 6 months’ time for an update. The group are currently working on contributing their ideas and feedback to the draft ‘guide to adoption’.

The guide is to support conversations with children awaiting adoption to help them understand the adoption process. The young people’s ideas are hugely important and will contribute to positive changes and developments to the guides. The group are also supporting work on the preparation groups. They will be contributing significantly to the programme being delivered and many are keen to regularly attend the preparation groups to share their experiences.

Young people and their families have fed back how important the group is to the members that attend.

If you would like more information on the participation group please contact Clare Marks or Rebecca Jones on 03000 420508.

Contact

For Learning and Development or Support Group information, please call us on 03000 420 508 or email adoption.training@Kent.gov.uk.

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