British Association for Adoption and Fostering

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The British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) (until 2001, British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering) is a membership association formed in 1980 and is a registered charity. Membership is open to organisations and individuals concerned with child adoption and fostering. Corporate members include local authorities, independent fostering agencies, voluntary adoption agencies, NHS trusts, law firms and voluntary organisations. Individual members include social workers, health professionals, law professionals, adopters and foster carers. BAAF's 2013-14 annual review reported a corporate membership of more than 450 and 1400 individual members.

BAAF services[edit]

BAAF is a membership association, publisher, training provider and advisory service. In cooperation with Sage Publications it publishes the academic journal Adoption & Fostering. Post-qualifying training is delivered in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University in England, with Stirling University in Scotland and with QUB in Northern Ireland.

BAAF also runs the Be My Parent family-finding service consisting of the website [1] and Be My Parent newspaper. Both Be My Parent services feature children who need an adoptive or permanent foster family. The website also offers information, articles and real-life stories about adoption and fostering.

Contracted services[edit]

BAAF manages the Adoption Register for England and Wales, under contract with the UK and Wales governments, Scotland's Adoption Register, which is funded by the Scottish Government, and the Adoption Regional Information System for Northern Ireland (ARIS) for the Northern Ireland Executive. These registers maintain records of children waiting to be adopted and of approved prospective adopters awaiting an adoptive placement.

BAAF operates the Independent Review Mechanisms (IRM) [2] in England and Wales, on behalf of the UK and Wales governments respectively. The IRMs review the decisions of adoption and fostering agencies on their approval of adopters and foster carers, and on disclosure of adoption records.

Public policy and public information[edit]

BAAF works to increase public understanding of child adoption and fostering. And it lobbies for reform where necessary. It has campaigned for unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to be allowed to adopt jointly, for the right of adopted people and people who were donor conceived to receive information about their birth families, and for foster children to be able stay in care after the age of 18.[3]

In 2009 BAAF's support for LGBT adoption resulted in a public apology after the Daily Mail exposed its use of the word “retard” to refer to critics of adoption by gay men. Mencap, the charity for people with a learning disability, called the use of the word a “disgrace”.[4]

BAAF runs National Adoption Week, which is dedicated to finding families for those children who wait the longest,[5] and Somebody Else’s Child, the first national campaign on private fostering.


In September 2014 BAAF announced that Caroline Selkirk was to become its new Chief Executive, replacing Barbara Hudson who became Interim Chief Executive on 30 May 2014. Ms Selkirk is to take up post in December 2014, leaving NHS Tayside where she served as Deputy Chief Executive from May 2011. BAAF had advertised for a "visionary" Chief Executive at a salary of up to £100,000.

Caroline Selkirk started her career as a state registered chiropodist working in England and Scotland before undertaking an MSc in Health Promotion and Health Education. She worked in a number of health promotion and management positions in the southern England. In 1994 she moved to West Sussex Health Authority as Contracts Manager and subsequently became Assistant Director of Performance Management.

In 2000 Ms Selkirk returned to Scotland and was appointed Assistant Director of Planning at NHS Tayside. She was appointed Director of Change and Innovation in 2003.

Ms Selkirk's predecessor Barbara Hudson is a former Deputy Chief Executive of BAAF who returned from retirement following the departure of Srabani Sen who was Chief Executive from December 2013 until May 2014. Sen left BAAF so soon after her appointment to "pursue exciting opportunities that have emerged recently". [6] Ms Sen's Linkedin profile subsequently reported that she was the Director of Lead for Change, which "works with organisations to give them a competitive edge and a sustainable future by embedding the needs and aspirations of their clients and service users into their strategy, leadership and governance".[7]

The Board of Trustees is chaired by Anthony Douglas who is Chief Executive of CAFCASS, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.[8]


BAAF raises revenue from membership fees, the sale of its publications and services, fees for its public contracts, and through charitable donations. In 2010 it controversially accepted a £100,000 grant from Ladbrokes, the bookmaker.


BAAF's President is Rupert Hambro. Patrons include Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, Nicky Campbell, presenter of BBC Radio 5 Live, who was adopted, hairdresser Andrew Barton, interior designer Annabel Elliot, Clare Grogan and Nimmy March.

In 2014 Butler-Sloss withdrew as head of an inquiry into child sex abuse. This followed an allegation that in a previous review “she wanted to exclude some of his allegations in a bid to protect the Church of England” according to the BBC, because she "cared very much about the Church".[9]


External links[edit]