Charity replaces old computers

Witney Gazette: Social worker Jackie Fletcher with her new computer. Picture: OX56389 Ric Mellis Buy this photo Social worker Jackie Fletcher with her new computer. Picture: OX56389 Ric Mellis

ADOPTION services in Oxfordshire have been brought up to date for the new year.

Social workers at Adoption Focus in Witney now have dedicated work laptops for the first time, thanks to a £10,000 National Lottery grant.

The charity has replaced its entire outdated computer system at its office in Witney, which employs three staff.

The new system will allow social workers to update records and access their emails on the move, so they will not have to return to the office between visits to families around the country.

Social worker Jackie Fletcher, who is based in Witney, places children from all over the country with families in Oxfordshire.

She said: “I visit children in Devon and Yorkshire, and I will visit them four or five times for meetings and planning, before we place them with a family,” said Miss Fletcher, 49, who lives near Wantage.

“So these laptops are a huge benefit for us.”

The charity updated its system two weeks ago, but it is still in the early stages of working out the full potential of its new system.

Charity director Anna Sharkey said: “Our social workers who are out and about have to touch base with the office, to access records and record their observations.

“If a worker starts the day in Oxford, then has to visit a family in Carterton, then travel to Chipping Norton, instead of having to go to Witney all the time in between they can now check in remotely.

“They will be more flexible and more agile.”

In the past 70 years, Adoption Focus has placed 3,500 children.

The process takes around two years.

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