New funding boost to improve quality of adoption services and speed up matching to find loving, stable homes for children more quickly.
Five new Regional Adoption Agencies have been granted £3.4 million as part of the government’s ambition to create a world-leading adoption system with faster matching, so children are placed in a loving, stable homes more quickly.
The additional funding will go to 17 councils to speed up the matching process between children awaiting adoption and adoptive families, as well as improving adopter recruitment and reducing costs.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
“We want every child to be in the loving, stable home that’s right for them, and adoption can transform the lives of these vulnerable children – and their adoptive families – in a remarkable way.
By coming together and joining forces through the work of Regional Adoption Agencies, councils can use the network to match children with the right families much more quickly.”
Regional Adoption Agencies were created to replace the previous system of council adoption, to bring together groups of local councils to work together on adoption. The regional agencies help widen the pool of potential adoptive families and help match children awaiting adoption with the most suitable family as quickly as possible.
This model also provides more support for adoptive families going through the process and for those considering adoption, as well as helping to improve the quality of services locally.
Regional Adoption Agencies were introduced with a commitment for all councils to join one by 2020. To date, 141 councils have joined a live or developing regional agency.
Chair of the Adoption Leadership Board, Andrew Christie, said:
“Regional Adoption Agencies will be the platform on which a modernised adoption service is built; providing better support to adopters and transforming the life chances of many of the most vulnerable children. Funding five more RAA projects is a major step towards this goal.”
Heather Freeman, head of service of Aspire Adoption, one of the first Regional Adoption Agencies, said:
“I have no doubt that becoming a Regional Adoption Agency has already benefitted children and families touched by adoption or special guardianship in the Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole local authority areas. Aspire Adoption went live in July 2017, and within the first six months, more children had been placed for adoption with local families than ever before.
Combining the skills and experience of social work staff from across the region has also resulted in improving the support we can now offer families once those children have been placed. There is much more to do but becoming a Regional Adoption Agency was right for us.”
The new Regional Adoption Agencies and the local authorities involved are:
- Kent: made up of Kent, Bexley and Medway
- Coast to Coast: Cumbria, Durham and Sunderland
- Lancashire: Blackpool and Lancashire
- Ambitious for Adoption: Harrow, Bromley, Redbridge, City of London and Slough
- Adoption for South East: Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Brighton and Hove