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14.1.13 Featuring Children in the Media

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter explains the approach that will be taken by the adoption agency of Nottinghamshire County Council when seeking adoptive families for children in its care through the media.


Content

  1. Introduction
  2. Initial Process
  3. Recruitment Activity
  4. Communication with the Child, Parent, Carer and Others
  5. Action Following and Enquiry


1. Introduction

Whilst advertising to find a family is now a well established practice which over the years has been successful for many children, the idea of “advertising” children is still potentially controversial.

Great care and sensitivity must be taken when exposing a child to this sort of publicity.

BAAF has produced two practice notes and practice guidance which are essential reading for anyone who is involved in featuring children in the media. These are:

  • CoramBAAF Practice Note 41 - Profiling Children;
  • CoramBAAF Practice Note 48 - Featuring Children in the Mainstream Media;
  • Profiling children on the internet - A good practice guide (Denise Barnett, BAAF 2005).


2. Initial Process

Great care must be taken when featuring a child to ensure that the wording and descriptions used respect the child's dignity and individuality.

No child will be featured until the necessary agreements have been obtained (court, birth parents, and child).

Children to be featured will be identified by the Adoption Tracking or Home Finding meeting, which will also monitor progress.

A clear plan will be agreed about where, how and when children will be featured and this will be shared with all those involved.

At least one person with Parental Responsibility should provide written consent to the publicity proposed. This should usually be the Service Manager for the child’s Locality.


3. Recruitment Activity

All recruitment activity using the media will be co-ordinated by the Adoption Recruitment and Project Officer, supported by the Adoption Team Manager and in consultation with the child’s social worker.

To ensure consistent quality, profiles will be written only by the Adoption Recruitment and Project Officer in consultation with those who know the child best. The Adoption Team Manager will be responsible for signing off all profiles.

In preparing profiles and other information about the child, care will be taken to acknowledge the individuality and uniqueness of the child.

Information must be given in a way that respects the child’s confidentiality.

Children will be carefully prepared for publicity according to their age and level of understanding.

Wherever possible they will be encouraged to become actively involved in preparing a profile and have a say in how they are portrayed.


4. Communication with the Child, Parent, Carer and Others

Children will be kept informed and supported throughout the process.

The child’s carers and birth parents, where possible, will be kept fully informed of plans to feature the child. Consideration should also be given to informing other significant people (e.g. teachers and other birth relatives).


5. Action Following and Enquiry

In order to protect the child, the Adoption Recruitment and Project Officer should establish a clear agreement with the appropriate media contact about any conditions that apply to featuring the child.

All enquiries will be received by a named worker in the County Adoption Team and forwarded to the child’s worker promptly.

The child’s worker must be proactive in responding promptly to all enquiries, Enquirers must be contacted within 5 working days, and either counselled out, or their enquiry pursued. If approved by another agency the child’s social worker will contact the enquirer’s social worker for further discussions. If not approved, this will be undertaken by the named adoption social worker from the County Adoption Team.

The child’s worker must inform the Recruitment and Project Officer of the progress and outcome of enquiries.  

The agency will monitor the effectiveness of publicity in terms of enquiries, and feedback from all parties involved including the child and enquirers

End