Individual membership is offered to all professionals working to improve the lives of looked after and adopted children, including social work, legal, health and research professionals.
The main benefits for individual members are:
- Attendance at any one of our member-only forums for social work, health and legal professionals in Scotland, with meetings offered at least three times a year;
- Access to our Scotland-specific helpline providing expert specialist advice on legal, health and child placement dilemmas; this includes enquiries about cross-border and inter-country adoptions and fostering;
- Receive discounts at all AFKA Scotland training events. We provide many continuous professional development opportunities for social workers and related professionals. Specialist workshops, conferences and spotlight sessions are held throughout the year, often with highly regarded external speakers;
- Now income tax can be reclaimed in respect of of membership payments on individual accounts. See feature box for more information.
Your individual annual subscription is inclusive of VAT.
AFKA Scotland has developed a membership model specifically designed for Scottish legal firms which allows solicitors or paralegals within each firm to access the membership benefits.
The main benefits for legal firm membership includes:
- Attendance at AFKA’s member-only forum for legal professionals in Scotland with meetings offered at least 3 times per year;
- A national and regional voice for member firms to influence public policy;
- Representation from Scotland on CoramBAAF UK wide legal committee;
- Development and promotion of positive understanding of adoption and fostering.
AFKA Scotland offers a uniquely Scottish service to local authorities, health professionals, voluntary adoption agencies and independent fostering providers throughout Scotland.
Our aim is to support agencies in achieving best outcomes for all children who are fostered, those for whom planning for permanence is required and those placed for adoption. Members are also offered the benefits of our collaboration with CoramBAAF.
AFKA Scotland hosts two Consortia (in the West and North East) funded by a separate membership fee, providing a local forum for members to hear about and share latest developments in policy, legislation, practice and research.
The purpose of the consortia is to help agencies to support the staff who are directly involved in adoption and fostering work. While AFKA’s national forums allow a representative from each agency (normally a manager) to participate in Scotland wide meetings, the Consortia are focused on providing advice, guidance, support and training opportunities to the much greater number of staff who are directly involved in the provision of services. Because it is a relatively specialist area of work, it is often particularly difficult for agencies to give social workers and others involved in progressing adoption and permanence plans, access to the full range of knowledge required and the opportunities to develop their skills.
Agencies can make use of:
- Quarterly meetings at which input is provided from a range of AFKA Scotland staff including the Legal Consultant and Research Associate.
- Four Skills Development Sessions per year – providing the opportunity for groups of staff from agencies to obtain specialist training in relation to the skills required for family placement work.
- Two Pan Scotland Meetings: in response to requests from Consortia members, an opportunity for the two groups to meet. Members have particularly appreciated the chance to hear about and explore the significant differences between practice in the East and West of the country.
- Special Interest Groups – short life groups established at Consortia meetings to look at issues causing particular interest or concern, and run by AFKA Scotland.
- Sharing of information and updates between meetings – facilitated by AFKA Scotland.
Key benefits of membership:
- Sharing information about the development of best practice across the country and then discussing how this can be put into practice locally.
- A forum that gives workers and managers an opportunity for safe exploration of current issues and dilemmas (peer review).
- Access to advice from professionals with different areas of expertise (legal/social work/research) and to a different group of staff from those who attend national forums.
- Easy access to information about latest developments in policy, practice and legislation across Scotland and more widely in the UK.
- Sharing and networking with colleagues from neighbouring authorities/agencies with opportunities to consider collaborative cross-agency initiatives.
- Chance to explore issues relating to regional differences (via the Pan Scotland meetings) and to learn from the experience of workers in other parts of Scotland.
- Opportunity to develop and enhance the direct skills involved in adoption and fostering work sessions, which staff frequently find difficult to access in any other way.
- Opportunities to participate in Special Interest Groups established to address issues that emerge as particularly urgent or challenging.
- Dissemination of information to group members between meetings.
- Voice in relation to wider adoption issues and the development of policy and practice at a national level.
Consortia Members must already be a Corporate Member before they can become a Consortia member.
The opportunity to meet with other professionals involved in family placement work, to share experiences, ideas and research is very helpful. It is also useful in terms of developing the knowledge base of workers and managers new to family placement work- I found the WOSC very useful when I started as a team manager in fostering and adoption with no prior experience of working in that field.
I have attended one Pan Scotland meeting which was great to attend! all consortia meetings are a great opportunity to have practise discussions which the F and A sub group cannot achieve.
Not attended but managers do and report it is very helpful for local issues and networking.
I see this link as a fundamental life line for practitioners, both in sharing good practice/practice challenges. There is very little practice experience within our SMT and without the link I feel we would be quite directionless and insular. The practice wisdom and legal input offered by AFKA is very valuable, as well as AFKA being the vehicle to gel LA’s meeting together. Each consortia needs to have enough LA representation to make the consortia worthwhile.