British Association for Adoption and Fostering to close with immediate effect

BAAF will transfer some of its functions to children's charity Coram under a newly created entity

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) is to close, it has been announced.

BAAF chief executive, Caroline Selkirk, said it was no longer possible to sustain the organisation in the face of “significant changes and prevailing economic conditions”.

BAAF, which has been supporting, advising and campaigning for children in care for three decades, will transfer some of its functions to children’s charity Coram. The functions will be housed in a newly created entity, the CoramBAAF Adoption and Fostering Academy.

The new entity, like BAAF, will operate as an independent membership organisation. It will take on BAAF’s research, policy, professional advice and development work.

It will also administer the National Adoption Register for England, the Independent Review Mechanism and will run National Adoption Week.

The Independent Review Mechanism evaluates adoption agencies’ decisions not to approve an individual as an adopter. It was run by BAAF on behalf of the Department for Education.

BAAF’s in-house magazine will not continue and has closed today.

Coram chief, Dr Carol Homden, said: “The CoramBAAF Adoption and Fostering Academy is a sustainable way forward which enables the expertise of two organisations renowned for their work with looked after children to be shared to create better chances for children.”

The news marks the second high profile social care charity closure in recent months. Last month, it was announced that the College of Social Work would close due to lack of funds. The College is currently in a wind down process and will shut by the end of September.

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23 Responses to British Association for Adoption and Fostering to close with immediate effect

  1. Christopher Brocklesby August 1, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    I am sad for the people whose lives will be disrupted by this change.

    However, I know from friends’ experience just how effective Coram is and shall be pleased to receive further details.

    I was adopted myself.

  2. Jan van Wagtendonk August 1, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    Really sad that BAAF which has a tremendous and proud record of supporting and developing practice and understanding in relation to fostering and adoption is no more. It seems a brutal and unhelpful way of ending this organisation. The merger with Coram is also concerning as this may well mean a very London centric organisation. Are fostering and adoption really a priority for this government?

  3. Ruth Breeze August 1, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

    No mention of the 81 dedicated and loyal staff who have lost their jobs or the unacceptable manner by which they were dismissed. I hope those who have been retained don’t suffer the same fate shortly.

  4. Nabu August 3, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    What a shocking revelation. I wonder whether the closure/merger has been in planning for sometime now. Also if an instirution such as BAAF with its household reputation is not able to survive the economic climate how can the smaller and individual entities survive. We need to look at the fact that social services is never a priority for politicians eventhough it provides a needed seevice in the community. It never gets the same merits as their partners in education and health services which is not right. It just seems that the industry is in rapid decline and being eroded.

    Concerned social worker.

  5. Andrew Cooper August 3, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    This is a shocking a distressing development. BAAF has been a beacon of professionalism, dedication, commitment to research and innovation for children, families and practitioners. First TCSW, now BAAF and Kids Company in deep trouble. There is a pattern surely. These are the new conditions in which social work must operate – on the unpredictable high seas of the market with a shrinking state and minimal government support for our work and for the vulnerable families and communities with whom we work.

  6. Linda Saunders August 3, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    I am shocked. We have BAAF form F and other BAAF forms. Will they all need replacing?
    BAAF have done an excellent job and to a large degree are the backbone of fostering and adoption services. I think they have done an excellent job and I am shocked at the new they are closing. What a shame. It would have been nice if we had al ben consulted as maybe something could have been done to help prevent this.

  7. Blossom Darcy August 3, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

    I am lucky enough to have been practicing as a social worker for almost the 3 decades that BAAF have been operating. We have been very privileged to have had their dedication to services to children and I hope there will be some formal recognition for what they have achieved.

  8. PUSHBINDER August 3, 2015 at 7:38 pm #

    I am shocked to here the news about BAAF such a reputable charity that offered a great professional service. It will never be the same again no matter who takes over. I think the Chief executive and Trustees have a lot to answer for. Something has been going on for longer than the employees have known for. Definitely needs further investigation and bring the Trustees to account for a their actions (lack of it). Why did the staff not know what was going on until their jobs were gone ? Hmm what went wrong ? Some one has seriously messed up !

  9. Steve Vaudrey August 3, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

    Sad news – and as a long standing member I wish there had been at least some consultation with members. Surely BAAF knew this was coming and could have talked to the people like me who have paid our subscriptions for many years. This move diminishes the profile of fostering and adoption.

    I agree with other commenters, little by little social work as a profession and indeed state provision is being eroded and passed to charities. Is this how the welfare state will end: not with a bang but a whimper?

  10. Chanelle Lee August 5, 2015 at 1:27 am #

    So basically you have decided to make more money, not considering the children, this is to do with corporate and marketing values and not what the children need

  11. Jon Bridge August 5, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    Coram… a charity?????

    What salaries are the managers on? Just further privatisation of social care by the Tories … jobs for their mates…

    I will not be renewing my membership

  12. Helen M August 5, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    Such a shock. So parts of the service will transfer to Coram – does that include the Form F that has been the bedrock of fostering assessments for many. BAAF is a household name in fostering – so much will be lost by this closure. I mean, how many people have heard of Coram compared to BAAF? As others have said – the second major organisation to close this year, with a third in the pipeline. What next?

  13. Darren Johnson August 5, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    The news that BAAF has closed should be of concern for a number of reasons. If as the Chief Exec says that it was as a result of economic pressures then why did the Trustees not publicise more widely the concerns so that all in the social work profession, Local government and IFA’s could have been consulted to explore options including crowd sourcing, investing etc.
    The actions of the Trustees in this instance seems to demonstrate that they lacked a clear understanding of the economic conditions [as they call it] and therefore how to respond accordingly.
    Whilst I am sure that Coram is a worthy organisation [ as no doubt so are loads of others ] why would an IFA seek to engage with what is a competitor in the so called Market place .
    I am one of those who recall the days before the Form F, who has managed both LA and private fostering and adoption services and the loss of BAAF which was regarded as genuinely independent of LA’s , IFA’s government etc should be of grave concern as a baseline standard and consistency of paper work which they brought to this area of work is now under real threat. I sometimes found their paperwork overly bureaucratic BUT at least it asked all the right questions. I can see in a few years time we will be back to the dreadful old days when you recieved paperwork and assessments on foster carers that were “heinz” …. or to be more blunt a dogs dinner.

  14. Stephen Barber August 5, 2015 at 4:41 pm #

    I was a BAAF member for some twentyfive years, and also for a time a Trustee and a volunteer. I regarded it as one of the most professional outfits in the field and a centre of excellence. I am appalled and disappointed that the end has come so suddenly.

    • Felicity Collier August 20, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

      Stephen I share your sentiments completely. It’s unbelievable how quickly it all happened with no consultation with members or staff. Of course there must have been significant problems but transparency is essential . I feel devastated

  15. Pat Beesley August 5, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

    I find it extraordinary that things were allowed to progress to the extent that BAAF could not be saved. What were the trustees doing? Surely if financial difficulties were identified (and if they were not, then the trustees have not been asking the right questions) it should have been possible to re-structure the organisation accordingly. This would have meant painful redundancies, but at least BAAF would still exist. Now, we have 81 people either made redundant or facing it in the immediate future, and the rest of the staff facing an uncertain future. This is such a tragic waste of skill and expertise, let alone the effects this closure will have on the most vulnerable members of our society.

  16. Chris Garner August 5, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    I am shocked and distressed by this news not least because there seems to have been no warning, and a resounding silence in the press in general. This will have an enormous impact on the sector. BAAF has been the beacon for good practice and has been truly independent and collaborative with all parts of the sector. The waste of skill and expertise is woeful. I have nothing to add to the debate except I would like to see the issue have a more widespread debate.

  17. Anita Singh August 6, 2015 at 12:21 am #

    Another shameful and miserable day for social work and its future.

  18. Jane August 7, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    I literally heard the news today.
    As a manager in respect of LAC for at least 15 years I am devastated.BAAF provided the best training and I agree with Chris a beacon of good practice.
    Coram is good at advertising Coram and I am certainly going to be looking at who the trustees are .Call me cynical but I could have a good guess.
    Like other contributors I feel fed up as a member of TCSW and experienced good training and now the KIDS company.Could it possibly be political !

  19. Gurinder Kaur August 10, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    Absolutely shocking news…..I was on holiday last week when a colleague phoned to tell me about this completely unexpected news. Sad development for children’s services that are already being cut back year after year.

  20. Frances Lake August 11, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    Julia Feast and the team at BAAF have been outstanding in helping to fight for the rights of Descendants of Deceased Adopted Persons, but our fight is not over – the government has not completed the amendment to the regulations permitting access to intermediary services for descendants and BAAF will be sadly missed by those they were helping.
    Thank you everyone at BAAF. We too regret the loss of such an important independent organisation.

  21. Sarah Curtis August 23, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    The closure of BAAF is devastating. Ever since Jane Rowe and Lydia Lambert identified in their 1973 report ‘Children Who Wait’ the number of children in care, BAAF has had a seminal role, influencing legislation from the 1975 Children Act onwards, disseminating good practice through its training and through its multidisciplinary approach with influential legal and medical groups. I hope its quarterly Journal Adoption & Fostering (which I edited 76-87) will survive.