National Adoption Week 2015 Awards

During National Adoption Week 2015, we hosted the annual National Adoption Week Awards at the Foundling Museum, London to celebrate good practice and exceptional achievement among those working or involved in adoption in the UK. The winners were as follows:

Adoption Social Worker of the Year

Jo Davis

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This is what one adoptive parent said about the winner: “she was always happy to return our calls, even outside of normal working hours. We got the impression that our little one was actually precious to her and it was lovely to know that she really cares for all the children under her care. She’s not just a social worker. She is an inspiration. A true professional who never stops. A Superwoman and a special breed”

Adoption Blog of the Year

Al Coates
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For a blog that is: “funny, very educational, honest and cleverly written. He not only shares stories but helps other adopters who have similar struggles”.

Excellence in Adoption Practice

Coram Cambridgeshire Adoption

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A new partnership between a Voluntary Adoption Agency and a local authority. Awarded “Good” in all categories in a post registration inspection only 6 months after it opened, the service offers a bespoke approach to speeding up a child’s path to adoption promoting positive outcomes for children and promoting secure attachments, identity development and resilience.

Adopter Champion of the Year

Benjamin Carpenter

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This is what the person who nominated them said: “He is an exceptional single adoptive parent to 3 children with significant additional needs. He cares for their children to a very high standard devoting their life to caring for them. The oldest child has a range of needs associated with Autism and OCD. The middle child has a range of needs including Pierre Robins syndrome, a visual impairment, no radius’ in her arms and scoliosis of the spine. The youngest child is profoundly deaf and he has learnt British Sign language and taught their children so that he can communicate with one another. All the children have made significant progress that has surprised social workers, medical professionals and many others. He is very open with each of the children and keeps birth parents informed of the children’s progress. He is compassionate and understanding towards the birth parent’s stories and want the children to embrace their identity and history. His passion for adoption has them involved with talks, publications and befriending other adopters. Always willing to talk about his adoption experience, he is currently beginning the process to adopt a fourth child. He is an invaluable resource to the adoption world and we cannot think of anyone who would be more deserving of this award. They have devoted their adult life to adoption.”

Lifetime Achievement Award

Alan Burnell

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Alan was adopted as a baby. He decided at a young age that they would like to pursue a career in social work. In the nineteen seventies he began working in local authority fostering & adoption teams and in the mid-eighties, joined the team who would eventually set up the Post Adoption Centre. This was the first centre of its kind in the UK to develop and provide post adoption support for adopted adults, birth parents and adoptive families. He went on to develop ground-breaking counselling programmes for parents, adopted people and families parenting children with complex needs. In 1998 He set up Family Futures in collaboration with a therapist and adoptive parent. Family Futures has become a world-class centre of excellence in adoption and adoption support, with an Outstanding Ofsted rating. He was the first to introduce Thera-play and Dan Hughes’ training to the UK from the US. He now leads a team of 35 professionals across a broad range of disciplines. His staff say he truly sees his work as more than a job. He consistently gives up his evenings and weekends to host information evenings and events and has no qualms at being called at 10pm at night by a family in distress.

Adoption Celebration Card design competition for children

Card Competition winner The winning design was by Florence Forster. She receives a £100 gift voucher. The winning design will also be made into a card and available for sale at