National Forums

National Practitioners’ Forums

AFKA Scotland runs several national forums for practitioners from different professional backgrounds, helping members stay up-to-date with the latest developments in policy, practice, legislation and research, as well as providing opportunities to network and share examples of emerging practice.

Please contact us with any enquiries about our forums.

Learn more about our forums:


The Research Forum brings together researchers working on studies related to family placement, social work practices and improving the lives of children, young people and families throughout Scotland. The forum enables researchers to share information about their work and broader research developments, with the aim of promoting links between research teams and enhancing our collective knowledge and understanding of evidence-based policy and practices to ensure they are designed in ways which more effectively meet the needs of looked after children.

Members include researchers from Higher Education institutions such as Stirling, Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Dundee and Edinburgh Napier; relevant third sector organisations such as SCRA and CELCIS; and a range of independent researchers.

The Research Forum sits alongside and links into the work of AFKA’s other forums for social workers, panel chairs and legal and medical professionals to ensure everything AFKA does is rooted in research.

The Research Forum meets four times per year on MS Teams.

The Medical Advisers’ Forum offers support and advice to medical advisers in respect of the complex medical, legal and social work practice issues involved in their work and provides access to information on current research and practice developments. It also offers the invaluable opportunity to share practice wisdom with colleagues from across the country in respect of the wide range of child and adult health issues on which medical advisers are required to advise.

There is active communication between forum members through the secure group email, providing quick access to advice, information, and resources available. Updated training for new medical advisers in Scotland is being developed by the group, to complement the existing CoramBAAF UK-wide training which our Medical Advisers’ Forum members are helping to revise in the context of developing practice in Scotland. In conjunction with the forum members, AFKA runs a health conference and a range of other workshops and conferences that may be of interest to medical advisers.

The Medical Advisers Forum meets four times per year using MS Teams.

The Legal Adoption & Fostering Forum (LAFF) brings solicitors and advocates together to discuss legal developments in adoption and fostering. They and others involved in decision making bring to the table their own experiences, insight and questions with a view to achieving informed and consistent best practice.

An annual legal conference is arranged through this forum, where influential speakers address a packed audience on the law in this field.

The Legal Adoption & Fostering Forum meets three times per year on MS Teams.

AFKA Scotland has introduced an online Intercountry Adoption Community of Practice Forum which will be of particular interest to social workers practising in family placement. This will provide practitioners with an opportunity to share their experiences, knowledge and develop good practice in this area.

This forum will meet 3 times per year.

The Family Placement Forum is attended by adoption and fostering practitioners and managers from local authorities, voluntary adoption agencies and independent fostering providers across Scotland, offering the opportunity to hear about recent developments in family placement covering social work, the law, research and health.

The forum regularly hosts speakers and encourages the exploration of dilemmas in this area of work. Ultimately the forum is focused on promoting consistency and good practice across agencies.

The Family Placement Forum meets four times a year on MS Teams.

The Chairs’ Development Forum is co-ordinated by AFKA Scotland on behalf of members who chair adoption and fostering panels. Panel advisers are also invited to join once or twice a year. Members have the opportunity to hear about new developments which directly and indirectly affect and influence their work on panels.

The forum has independent members as well as representatives from local authorities, voluntary agencies and independent fostering providers. Practice, research and legal aspects are covered, and members have the opportunity to share practice developments and dilemmas as well as influence the work that AFKA Scotland does.

The Chairs’ Development Forum meets four times a year on MS Teams.