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Childcare experience & volunteering
We believe that our children have the best opportunity to thrive with adoptive families who have been thoroughly prepared, trained and supported throughout their adoption assessment process.
Why do I need childcare experience?
We know that it is incredibly valuable for each adopter to gain recent and relevant childcare experience. This should ideally be with children from a range of backgrounds and abilities.
Childcare experience demonstrates your ability to meet a child’s needs. We encourage you to get as much experience with children as possible, within the age range that you are considering adopting, as this demonstrates an understanding of the cognitive and physical development a child of this age might have. One of the simplest ideas, is to ask friends and family if you can look after their children. Social workers are keen to see routine or overnight care for children, so you could suggest a weekly pick-up from school or babysitting while their parents are out of town for the weekend.
Should I seek volunteering experience with children from disadvantaged backgrounds?
Caring for children with additional needs requires certain skills. Having experience in this can benefit your decision-making process. It can help you work out whether you could meet the needs of a child with additional needs. If so, this experience can demonstrate to the panel and family finders that you are the best carer for a child. Likewise, if you are able to spend time with children who may have experienced trauma or had a tough start in life, this will help you gain an understanding of their needs and difficulties.
How much childcare or volunteering should I complete?
We suggest that you gain voluntary or childcare experience for around six months to demonstrate your commitment to learning as much about children within the age range you are considering adopting.
Here we provide some volunteering suggestions for you to consider. It is not an exhaustive list but will provide some ideas of who to contact in your local area for an opportunity to gain experience of working with children.
Many charitable organisations, schools and children’s clubs are happy to hear from potential volunteers and if you explain that you are preparing to adopt a child, many will offer a reference after an agreed period of volunteering.
- The Independent Visitor Scheme provides volunteer mentors to guide, advise, listen to and befriend young people in care. Visitors and children share experiences, try out new activities and spend quality time together. This role is flexible and can fit in around your other commitments.
- KEEN London might be right for you if you enjoy sports and have some spare time at the weekend. They offer one to one volunteering opportunities with children, and no experience is required, just enthusiasm and energy. You will attend an induction where you will learn about working with children with additional needs, child safeguarding and behaviour management.
- Chance UK is an early intervention organisation that supports children experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties. The children that they work with are at risk of educational exclusion, anti-social or criminal behaviour in adolescence. Your involvement could help to empower children to develop their skills, confidence and life aspirations.
- Beanstalk is a reading charity that provides the opportunity to become a trained reading helper and help a child who might need a little more help, encouragement and attention.
- Children’s centres give help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment to families. Some centres also provide early learning and full-day care for pre-school children. Contact your local centre to see if they would welcome some help with anything from reading, play time to lunch time supervision or days out.
- Girl guiding and the scouts offer excellent opportunities to work with a variety of children of all ages and backgrounds. You can contact any Cubs, Scouts, Beavers, or a Brownies group in your area.
- DoIT is a database of over a million UK volunteering opportunities.
There are many other organisations that you may feel comfortable talking to about volunteering opportunities such as Home Start, The NSPCC, Action For Children, Whizz Kidz, Barnardos and Family Action Mentoring.
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