National Adoption Week: How we help those wishing to adopt
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DI John Treharne, Crime Scene Investigator Jeanette Treharne, and their daughter
A Detective Inspector has spoken movingly about the experiences that inspired him to spearhead groundbreaking changes to the Force’s adoption policy, as we mark National Adoption Week.
DI John Treharne described the challenges faced by those wishing to adopt during an often lengthy and thorough process.
“My wife and I suffered difficulties in having our own biological children and we came to the decision we wanted to adopt a child,” he said.
“During that time, we asked why were there these disparities in policies? I was only allowed time for two appointments off (as the secondary adopter).
“It was so very different to having a birth child as it involves having to be approved at an adoption panel, the introduction of a child from care into your household, and the need for extra time for that child to bond with you.
“I spoke to a number of other people in the Force who had gone through this. To be able to adopt, every part of your life is poured over in detail – they speak to your family, friends, assess your house, assess how you are going to be as a parent. There are around 40 social worker visits.
“Thankfully we were both very well supported by our line managers but there is an obvious impact in adopting a child that is coming to you with potential attachment issues, emotional problems and invariably with some form of trauma.”
Hayley Measures, from our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion tea, worked with DI Treharne and his wife Jeanette, a Crime Scene Investigator, and presented to our People Board processes that would change the policy.
The policy changes were accepted, and they include:
Both adopting parents are now be eligible to receive five days’ paid leave for attending pre-adoption appointments (previously two unpaid appointment times for the secondary adopter).
Managers to allow flexi time/build-up of Time Off In Lieu where possible to allow for adopters to attend social worker appointments / panels etc.
Adoption support leave to be extended by two weeks’ paid leave in recognition of the settling-in period required for the adopted child and family.
A reminder in the procedure that flexible working may be requested on a temporary or longer-term basis.
One day’s paid leave to mark the celebration day (the day that a court officially recognises the adoption as being official).
The policy is live now.
“This puts us leaps and bounds ahead in terms of supporting people adopting,” continued DI Treharne, who adopted with wife Jeanette when their daughter was a baby.
“More than 80,000 children are in care and people want to adopt, so it’s fantastic to see that Lincolnshire Police are being so progressive with their policy.”
Hayley added: “The adoption leave procedure mirrored the maternity leave statutory entitlements for leave before and just after the adoption takes place. However, hearing John and Jeanette’s adoption experiences, and having spoken to other couples across the force who have adopted, it is clearly a very different and emotional journey for adoptive parents.
“I was happy to help develop their proposals as I could see that these would make a positive difference to supporting both adoptive parents pre- and post-adoption.”