Congratulations to Daljit Gill and Frances Coller for their achievement in being finalists in the National Adoption Week Awards 2017, held at the Foundling Museum, London.
Daljit Gill was nominated for Adoption Social Worker of the Year, and Frances Coller for the Gareth Marr Lifetime Achievement Award.
Frances Coller is After Adoption’s longest serving member of staff. During her 21 years at After Adoption, she has continually demonstrated her dedication to support all people affected by adoption. Frances manages our national helpline, which supports over 7,000 people per year. She also manages our ReUnite service, helping adopted young people and adults to safely access their adoption records, and and those searching for relatives, providing support to both parties during the process of search, intermediary and reunion.
Frances has also played a pivotal role in the growing understanding and representation of birth parents’ needs within the adoption system. Through her role in the Styal Prison Project from 1997, Frances provided counselling to birth mothers in prison, often to those convicted of offences against their children. Facilitation of final contact visits in prison was a significant part of this project. Frances empowered birth parents to contribute to final contact and gave prison staff a profound understanding of what high-quality farewell visits should be. This work contributed to the pioneering book, ‘Still Screaming’.
Frances also supervised and developed the Adoption Psychology Service, which offers multi-disciplinary support to adoptive families co-ordinated by expert professionals from health, psychiatry, education and social work sectors. What started as a project in 2004 spanned 13 years and has now been integrated into an RAA as a model of successful partnership working.
Daljit Gill has 16 years’ experience as a social worker, and joined After Adoption 3 years ago. She has been instrumental in developing After Adoption’s Breaking the Cycle programme, a Midlands-based project, supporting birth mothers suffering grief and loss. It encourages birth mothers to take back control of their lives and helps them make positive choices for their future, reducing the need for further intervention.
Daljit, with the assistance of another co-worker, developed the programme from the ground up. Continual evaluation provides clear evidence that the programme works. This includes improved self-esteem and confidence, improved parenting skills and life skills. Indeed, many of the birth mothers have gone into employment and education as a result of the support received from Breaking the Cycle.
Lynn Charlton, CEO of After Adoption, commented, “We’re delighted that Daljit and Frances have been recognised by the sector for their dedication and hard work. Their commitment and passion has helped make a difference to the lives of many people affected by adoption, and everyone here is very proud of their achievement.”