Adoption activity days

Adoption activity days are events where adopters can meet a range of children waiting to be adopted in a prepared, supported, safe and fun environment. Adopters can attend before they are approved, as long as they are in Stage 2 of the new assessment process in England, or have a confirmed panel date elsewhere in the UK, and their social worker is confident they will be making a positive recommendation.

This is a themed day full of lots of fun activities such as face painting, climbing, craft and soft play. The children’s foster carers and social workers attend the event with the children to support them.

Read our pdf Adoption Activity Day FAQs

We now have a good practice guide to help agencies to independently run their own Adoption Activity Days. Our How to Run an Adoption Activity Day guide includes comprehensive best practice and advice from experts at CoramBAAF.

Adoption Activity Day Dates

We have adoption activity days scheduled for the following 2016 dates::

  • 6 February 2016 North East. Cancelled due to the low number of children referred.
  • 20 February 2016 London. Now accepting referrals for children (a fee will be charged, although there are discounts available for sibling groups). Referrals for prospective adopters open on 18 January and will close on 29 January.
  • 5 March 2016 Commissioned event by the East Anglia Consortium. Now accepting referrals for children from all local authorities (a fee will be charged). Only adopters referred by consortium agencies will attend.
  • 19 March 2016 West Midlands. Now accepting referrals for children (a fee will be charged, although there are discounts available for sibling groups). Referrals for prospective adopters open on 15 February and will close on 26 February.
  • Contact us:

    If you are an agency and have a child/children you would like to refer to an event, please let us know as soon as possible and send names to (for the 6 February event) or (for the 20 February event).

    If you have any prospective adopters who would be interested in attending an Adoption Activity Day, or would like further information, please call 0207 520 0302 or email

The aims of the project

Big Lottery logoThe project was externally funded and managed by BAAF, with Bridget Betts as Project Manager (Bridget went on to receive the Silver Award for overall leader of innovative practice at the Social Worker of the Year Awards 2012). The original aim was to facilitate four activity days in partnership with agencies in the East Midlands Consortium over the two years of the project. A fifth activity day in early March 2013 concluded the pilot.

There has been a close interest at ministerial level and the Department for Education announced in December 2012 that adoption activity days would be part of the government’s adoption reform agenda. Due to the success of the pilot this project now runs as a permanent service to agencies and consortia. Since 1st April 2013 the service has run a further 34 Adoption Activity Days and now works in partnership with 140 Local Authorities and Voluntary agencies to run Adoption activity days around the country.

We can now report that the outcomes from 17 of those 34 Adoption Activity days shows an overall matching rate of 26%.

Since 1st September BAAF have been pleased to have in post Sally Beaumont, a permanent manger, to oversee the future development of this flagship service.

Watch the South East Adoption Consortium's Adoption Activity Day

Adoption agency?

Do you want to be part of this exciting innovation in family finding practice? We can offer a free initial consultation to your agency. Contact to find out more.

Background to Adoption Activity Days

Pilot Project Adoption Activity Days: January 2011 to March 2013

Our inspiration - experience from the USA

We looked to the USA for current experience and practice in this area. Statistics from the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange in Boston which has facilitated adoption parties for 30 years demonstrate that adoption parties are twice as effective as any other method of family finding for children. 11- 14% of children profiled in the media are placed in an adoptive family compared with 30% of children who attend an adoption party.

Our partners

The East Midlands Consortium were the only group of agencies that volunteered to work in partnership with BAAF following a period of consultation in 2009-10.

How the pilot project was managed

A steering group with representatives from the participating agencies in the consortium provided external governance and guidance for the project.


Adoption Activity Days' logo

A considerable amount of time has been spent preparing social workers, foster carers and children for being involved in an Adoption Activity Day.

Attending an Adoption Activity Day may not be right for some children. So very careful consideration was given by partner agencies to the children they chose to refer. It was important to have a ‘team’ around the child to support them before, during and after an Activity Day.

Preparing children and giving them the opportunity to be actively involved in the family finding process has been one of the biggest challenges of the project. They knew it was going to be a fun day and those children who are of sufficient age and understanding are told that it is an opportunity to meet families who want to adopt and also to meet other children who need a new family.

Outcomes from the pilot

225 children attended the 5 pilot events and families were identified for 42 of these children. Children i.e. 19% of the children that have attended.

There have also been many ‘softer’ benefits:

  • For adopters - the opportunity to meet real children, dispelling the myths about children in care, having the opportunity to think more widely about the resource they are offering, feeling more confident about what they have to offer as potential parents.
  • For foster carers – being involved in the family finding process
  • For Social workers – having the opportunity to spend quality time with their child, improving practice in preparation of children for adoption and writing profiles. For adopters social workers the opportunity to observe adopters with children.
  • For children – for some finding a family for them to grow up in, having the opportunity to meet other children like them and meet families who are thinking of adopting.

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