Online adoption support service sees surge in demand

AN ONLINE support platform for adoptive families has seen a surge in demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Adopter Hub provides peer-to-peer support and professional advice to adopters through a range of online tools such as eLearning, webchat, webinars and a discussion forum.

The Adopter Hub partners with local authorities, virtual schools, regional adoption agencies and voluntary adoption agencies across the UK who purchase subscriptions on behalf of their adopters, special guardians, social workers and education professionals working with adopters and special guardians.

In the six months since the country went into lockdown in March 2020, The Hub has seen the number of users signing up for the service more than double from 1,316 to 2,793. The number of partner organisations has more than trebled from seven to 25.

The Adopter Hub was developed three years ago by adoption charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) in response to the growing demand from adopters for easily accessible and round-the-clock support.

Natausha van Vliet, Chief Operating Officer at PACT, said: “As lockdown restrictions came into force, adoption services began looking for alternatives to face-to-face support for their families.

“The Adopter Hub was well established and working successfully with our own adopters and a small number of partners at that point but we were able to offer the service to them as an instant, online and cost-effective solution.

“We are delighted that so many new partners chose to join us and that so many more families have been able to benefit from the wealth of resources and interactive features we have on The Hub.”

Natausha believes the two key reasons the service is proving so popular with adopters is the out-of-hours access to peer support and the opportunity to learn from professionals and other adopters via trusted multimedia content that has been co-developed with adopters.

She said: “Adopters have told us that what they want, and what they find most helpful, is to talk to someone who has been through the same journey and understands what it is like to be an adoptive parent. We have a team of volunteers who are all adoptive parents who run the web chat service and are actively involved in shaping the website.”

“We provide new content on a weekly basis and have a vast library of webinars from experts on topics ranging from education, sleep, trauma, behaviour and medical conditions, all specific for adopters and/or special guardians.”

When asked for feedback, one Hub user said: “We don't live near to where the training usually takes place so it is brilliant to be able to access training and learning that we otherwise would not be able to take advantage of.”

Another said: ““An excellent resource. Just wish I could share it with more parents!”

Jan Fishwick OBE, Chief Executive at PACT, added: “We always believed that The Adopter Hub had the potential to transform the way in which adoptive families are supported and the experience of a nationwide lockdown has meant we have been able to demonstrate this.

“The Adopter Hub continues to evolve and we will continue to listen to what our customers tell us they want to ensure that The Hub has the content and the tools to meet their needs.”

To find out more about The Adopter Hub, and how to access its services, please visit www.theadopterhub.org