Adoption UK Cymru has launched a new service for adopted children and young people to share experiences of adoption and reduce isolation they may experience, especially in the school environment.

The Children and Young People Service (CYPS) will see small, local groups set up across Carmarthen, Swansea and Cardiff initially to provide a safe space where they can take part in activities such as circus skills; cooking; theatre games to name but a few.

The activities are designed to build life skills, confidence and self-esteem but most of to have fun. It also encourages them to build friendships and gain ongoing support. The service will be officially named by the children and young people involved in the coming months.

Ann Bell, Director for Adoption UK Cymru said:

“The new service is so important in the work we are doing to help schools, teachers and support workers to see the whole child and we’re really proud to be launching it. It’s easy to think you understand how an adopted child or young person might be feeling, but it might not necessarily be the whole story. It is vital that we see beyond any negative behaviour or outbursts and approach it in a different way; it is about building relationships.

“We continue to work with the young adopted people, their families and their schools to ensure that we all take a holistic approach to allow that child or young person the same chance, building a protective layer that they can rely on.”

Ruth Letten, the project lead for CYPS added:

“Supporting children and young people to have the space to grow and develop in a safe and supportive environment is essential.  In turn, this enables them to feel confident and express their views to parents, teachers and other professionals”

“The Children & Young Persons Service aims to help them to understand how they are feeling, develop the language to express themselves and understand themselves more.”

Charlotte Callaghan, an adopted young person and CYPS Ambassador, believes strongly that having an opportunity to meet with others like her is vital. She commented: “Through groups such as this, I found a new confidence that helped me understand myself more and the emotional ups and downs of being adopted. I have been able to learn and enjoy activities alongside sharing adoption experiences with others.”

Adoption UK Cymru has also launched its own YouTube channel, with the ‘Understanding Nia’ video being made available to families, teachers and young people to be used as a resource, so that the emotional struggles felt by young adoptees is better understood; what they have been through and continue to go through, in the hope of the whole child being seen.

‘Understanding Nia’ dovetails with the charity’s other campaign – Equal Chance – which looks to raise awareness that all children deserve an equal chance at school. Where going to school is a daily struggle and many are failing academically as a result, so the charity is working with schools to help improve their understanding, empathy and resources to give adopted children an equal chance to succeed at school.

For more information about Adoption UK Cymru and its work, visit www.adoptionuk.org/wales