Adoption UK Cymru has welcomed experienced communications professional Stuart McCarthy-Thompson into a new community support role, which will focus on developing the volunteer network of adoptive parents and sharing their journeys with other adoptive families.
After spending more than 15 years working at a senior level within the communications industry in Wales, including his role at RSPB Cymru as head of public affairs, becoming an adoptive parent in 2016 saw McCarthy-Thompson look to change career direction.
There are approximately 6,400 children in care in Wales, with 310 being adopted in the last year. The average age of children currently being adopted in Wales is three years and ten months.
McCarthy-Thompson said of the role:
“I have always looked to work within cause-led organisations and after becoming an adoptive parent, it is a pleasure to be able to support other families in a similar position. Peer support is a very powerful way for adoptive families to help each other and Adoption UK Cymru volunteers make this possible.
“I hope to create more opportunities for adoptive parents to volunteer their time and share their experience, and to increase the number of community-based family activities”.
Research has found 73% of requests for adoption support in Wales is made between two and seven years following the official adoption order. With many adoptive parents managing a range of complex needs – that are not directly related to adoption – on a daily basis.
Ann Bell, Director of Adoption UK Cymru, added:
“We’re delighted to have Stuart join the Wales team, as he will play a vital role in ensuring that we continue to understand the support needs of adoptive parents, how our volunteer network can play its part, but also how as an organisation we can implement the right support at the right time.
“We want to make sure that there is an open-minded and proactive response to adoptive families, from the first point of contact onwards, as it is of fundamental importance to ensure that families do not feel judged or blamed for requesting additional support.”
Adoption UK Cymru services include peer support groups, community meetups, a telephone helpline, family events, support to adopted young people, training courses, and family wellbeing sessions. McCarthy-Thompson will play a pivotal role in communicating these services to adoptive families across Wales.
Following a recent refurbishment, the Adoption UK Cymru office now has a wellbeing room, which was funded by the Moon Dance fund, and it will be used for therapeutic and intervention sessions with families, as well as training courses for adoptive families, volunteers and partner agencies.
For more information about Adoption UK Cymru and its volunteering work, as well as its policy work, visit www.adoptionuk.org/wales