After Adoption

Amount Given:

£157,461 over 18 months (grant made in 2016)


Participation - marginalised and excluded individuals and groups


After Adoption

Laurence Scott,

Grants Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation


Many families whose children have been removed by the state experience multiple disadvantages. Many experience the removal of multiple children. The human and financial cost is enormous. There is little support available and families that have their children removed are easily stigmatised and excluded. The service we fund helps women whose children have been removed, to better understand the elements of their situation, and supports them to make choices that lead to better outcomes.

We supported the work because After Adoption effectively made the case that, with earlier and improved support for birth parents, the number of children placed on the adoption register or taken into state care can be reduced. After Adoption has a deep understanding of this area of work, is well regarded and has the background and connections to deliver the project effectively. We felt the project responded well to our Social Change interest in participation as it aims to overcome the deficiencies of institutional practice, lack of connections, taboos, isolation and discrimination.

Daljit Gill and Bobbie Mills,

Social Workers who deliver Breaking the Cycle programme


The funding received from Esmée has enabled us to both develop and deliver Breaking the Cycle. This project is based in the Midlands and supports birth-mothers who have lost at least one child to adoption. Breaking the Cycle provides an initial assessment followed by intensive one-to-one and group support, with an optional parenting element.

The project went live in 2014. The two cohorts of 11 women have successfully completed the programme. These women continue to remain engaged in the programme through a drop-in facility that provides ongoing support. The third cohort is currently underway with six women engaged in the group work stage. Eight women are waiting to engage with the fourth cohort.

The women engaged on the programme have complex needs including mental health issues, learning difficulties, poverty, childhood trauma and abuse, domestic violence and isolation and often find themselves on the fringes of society. Many of these women, for various reasons, have not accessed the generic services available to them. The specialist support provided through BTC has offered these women the opportunity to share their life stories in a safe, non-judgemental environment. 

The aim is to support women to take back control of their lives and to make positive, sustained life-choices into the future.

All women who have engaged with BTC have been able to raise their self-esteem and confidence, and feel more positive about their ability to make future life-choices. A number of positive friendships have been formed, and the participants are supportive of each other and engage proactively in the drop-in sessions.

Some comments from BTC birth-mothers:

“You don’t get judged at BTC. You feel valued.”

“It is easy to relate to others in the group who have been through the same.”

“Bobbie and Daljit have helped me become a better person. I gained confidence and have made new friends. BTC has helped me learn so much about myself.”

“I now don’t feel so alone after speaking to women who have been through similar situations to me.”

“I’ve got to know that I am actually a good person and a good mum.”