DfE funds to boost council adoption collaboration

22 Jun 15

Children and families minister Edward Timpson has made £4.5m available to help councils form regional adoption agencies as part of moves to ensure all authorities are collaborating in groups by 2020.

Timpson said the cash would help town halls to meet the costs of forming the new regional agencies, which the government has stated are vital to reduce the wait faced by some children to find adoptive homes.

Although there are currently no barriers to councils working together to improve the adoption system, Timpson said some still concentrated their efforts locally, rather than looking further afield for families that might be a better match for children.

“It doesn’t matter whether adoptive parents are from Reading or Rochdale, Cornwall or Cumbria – what matters ultimately is their ability to open up their hearts to a vulnerable child in need of a loving family,” the minister added.

“Every single day a child spends waiting in care for their new family is a further delay to a life full of love and stability. This just isn’t good enough.”

Last year, more than 5,000 children were found a permanent home through adoption, an increase of 26% compared to 2013, according to Department for Education figures.

More than 3,000 children, however, are waiting to be matched with adoptive parents, and over half have spent more than 18 months in care. This is in part due to councils not looking outside their immediate area for adoptive parents, the DfE stated, meaning one in three children waiting longer than necessary.

Timpson said the funding would allow first regional adoption agencies to be up and running quickly, with a target for all councils to be in groups by the end of the parliament remaining in place.

“Where adoption is proven to be in the best interest of the child, we have a moral mission to make sure they are matched quickly with parents who are right for them – regardless of where they live.”

Responding to the announcement, David Simmonds, the Local Government Association’s children and young people board chair, said the government acknowledged that increasing collaboration had already helped find more children permanent homes.

“This success comes from a strong relationship between councils, independent adoption agencies and national government,” he said.

“Collaboration works best when it is driven by the councils themselves, so the government's promise of financial and practical support for local areas to move forward with their own proposals is useful.”

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