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Jeffvani needs a loving family

LOVING FAMILY WANTED: Jeffvani is hoping to be adopted

IT’S A case that won the hearts of many Voice readers. Three-year-old Jeffvani appeared in the newspaper earlier this year in the hope of finding a family to adopt him.

His story prompted a big reaction from well-wishers who were rooting for him to find the permanent home he really needs, but despite some people showing interest, the right family for Jeffvani has not yet been found.

Michelle Bakay, a Senior Social Worker with Barking and Dagenham, told The Voice: “Jeffvani is doing well with his foster family, who adore caring for this gentle little boy, but he needs a family of his own to love him for the rest of his life”.

So Bakay is asking again and urging people from black and ethnic minority communities, who want to be the family for Jeffvani, to come forward.

In the 1970s, many children from BAME backgrounds were adopted into white families, but today the care system tries to make cultural and racial matches between adopter and adoptee to help develop a young person’s awareness and appreciation of their background.

SHORTAGE

However, because of the shortage of prospective parents from non-white communities, black and Asian children can often wait a long time to be placed. Information from the Adoption Register shows that last year 619 white children were referred compared to 231 children from black or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

While 80 per cent of adopters were white, only 20 per cent of adopters came from BAME backgrounds, clearly indicating a shortfall of adopters from these communities.

She said: “We don’t necessarily have to place children with someone of the same ethnicity, but there are benefits. Children who are placed with adopters of another ethnicity often have to answer more questions from people about being adopted, which can be difficult at times."

Being adopted by someone of a similar ethnicity also usually helps the child feel a greater sense of belonging, which is very important emotionally.”

PROCESS

Often there are concerns about the adoption process which can hinder people from BAME communities coming forward. These include negative perceptions about contact with social services and worries about the level of bureaucracy that adoption might involve.

There are also commonly held misconceptions about not being qualified or experienced enough to adopt a child. Responding to these concerns Bakay said: “The assessment process is thorough because we need to make sure we match the right child to the right family and it works for everyone involved.

"At the end of the day, the question is whether someone can care for this child throughout their childhood, providing a safe, stable and loving home. This means we assess people from all different backgrounds, married, single, straight, LGBT, et cetera.

Bakay added: “We can also provide allowances to help financially support adopters. Adopters receive a lot of information on the child and have training and ongoing support from social workers.

"Of course this is a big decision, but Jeffvani is a sweetheart and a fam- ily will be lucky to have him.”

If you are interested in providing a home for Jeffvani please call Michelle Bakay on 020 8227 5971 or email: Michelle.Bakay@lbbd.gov.uk

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