The London Early Permanence Project
Hello! I am Grace Panayiotou, the Early Permanence Lead for a Department for Education (DfE) funded project for Adopt London and Coram Ambitious for Adoption. I have been in my role since October 2023 when Adopt London and Coram Ambitious for Adoption secured a bid via the DfE to develop Early Permanence (EP) across London. I have a business plan – ranging from recruitment, to the processes around EP for our children. The project is currently running nationally and I am working very closely with my counterparts across the country, which has provided fabulous learning opportunities.
Since being in post, I have set up a Working Group with the Voluntary Adoption Agencies across London, including, Barnardos, PACT, Diagrama & Coram Ambitious for Adoption. We meet monthly and focus on practice development, the messages we want potential adopters to hear, the range of training and support required throughout their journey to adopt.
I am developing our training programme for EP carers and staff across all our London boroughs, to broaden and develop well-balanced understanding, and consider how we progress with the ‘Opt out’ model which is currently in place. This is where all potential adoptive families are automatically considered for EP until they are fully able to appreciate the benefits for everyone involved and can make an informed decision about whether they feel able to adopt via EP or rule themselves out.
I am working with a Project Co-ordinator to develop information packs for birth parents, family members, friends, administrators, medical professionals, contact workers, social workers and prospective EP carers. Those packs will include a range of resources, links and helpful materials.
I have also been doing a lot of groundwork to link in with legal departments including CAFCASS, the judiciary and the National Legal Board, and we will be hosting a London EP conference this summer to help improve understanding of the legal framework.
I would like to hear from anyone with first-hand experience of EP who wishes to share their story or give their thoughts and ideas on how EP processes should be improved for everyone affected by adoption. Please contact me at [email protected] I look forward to drawing from everyone’s experience and expertise.