BAAF in Northern Ireland
BAAF’s office is based in Belfast, we offer a regional programme of conferences, seminars and workshops of interest to all those working with and caring for children looked after away from home/adopted/separated from their birth family.
BAAF Northern Ireland also runs the Adoption Regional Information System for Northern Ireland (ARIS), a database linking children with prospective adoptive families. This service is provided by BAAF on behalf of the Health and Social Care Board. Visit the website www.ni-aris.org.uk. BAAF is registered as a Voluntary Adoption Agency with RQIA. View our statement of purpose PDF
Areas we cover
We cover the whole of Northern Ireland and also deal with enquiries from the Republic of Ireland.
How we can help
- Advice for members of the public and for professionals -on all aspects of adoption, fostering and planning for children.
- Consultancy services offering in depth help on individual complex cases, service reviews and team development.
- Training on a wide range of subjects for social workers, foster carers, adoptive parents, residential workers and other professionals.
Unmarried couples, including those in same-sex relationships and civil partnerships are now eligible to apply to adopt in Northern Ireland
BAAF welcomes guidance issued today by the DHSSPS confirming that unmarried couples, including those in same-sex relationships and civil partnerships are now eligible to apply to adopt in Northern Ireland. While in reality, this has been the case since the outcome of a Judicial Review in June 2013, the DHSSPS’ correspondence finally brings to an end the possibility of a further legal challenge on this issue.
We are delighted that discrimination against unmarried and same-sex couples who wish to jointly apply to adopt has now ended and that the pool of prospective adopters available for children waiting has the potential to increase as a result. This is of particular significance given that a research study, undertaken by the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge University, published by BAAF in 2013, found that same-sex couples were more open to accepting harder-to-place children and we hope that as more gay and lesbian couples are approved to adopt locally, opportunities will be enhanced for older children and those with significant health needs or developmental uncertainty to be placed for adoption.
New Figures Released on Children Adopted from Care in Northern Ireland
BAAF welcomes the publication by the DHSSPS of updated adoption figures for NI and in particular, the increase in the number of children adopted from care during 2012/13. We are concerned, however, that the average time taken from the Trust having made the decision to pursue adoption plans for children to the granting of an Adoption Order has increased in the last year and is now over 2 ½ years. The impact of this legal uncertainty on children’s development and capacity to form secure attachments is deeply worrying and for prospective adoptive parents, may exacerbate the stresses which these new parent often face in the early stages of a placement.
We hope that new adoption legislation currently being drafted for NI will address the delays which currently plague adoption processes in Northern Ireland.
BAAF welcomes the report from the Registration and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) following their review of statutory fostering services in Northern Ireland
BAAF welcomes the overview report from the Registration and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) following their review of statutory fostering services in Northern Ireland. The report highlights significant practice and policy issues in the delivery of fostering services and makes important recommendations for Health and Social Care Trusts, the Health and Social Care Board and the DHSSPS. We look forward to assisting all those responsible for the delivery of fostering services and the development of child care policy in addressing the wide range of recommendations contained within the report.
The publication of the RQIA report is timely given the launch on 17th January, by the DHSSPS of the formal consultation process on regulations and standards to be introduced for fostering services in NI. BAAF welcomes the drive to improve and standardise practice in fostering across NI and we encourage everyone with professional or personal interest or involvement to respond to the consultation and have your views heard on the future development of fostering services. The draft standards and the consultation response questionnaire can be accessed at the following link: www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/consultations/current_consultations.htm.
If you require the documents in another format please email: firstname.lastname@example.org telephone 02890 522539.
Regional Adoption Policies and Procedures
All adoption agencies in Northern Ireland are required to adhere to these policies and procedure which were introduced in 2006 and reviewed in 2010. Download or open the PDF