Proposal for new adoption agency gets green light

Buckinghamshire County Council and its partners have been given the green light by the Government to further develop their bid for a new regional adoption agency, which will reduce the amount of time children spend in care and provide a broader range of support to help them settle into their new families.

Earlier this year the Government invited bids from partnerships of local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies to develop a new regional adoption agency. This new way of working together was proposed to tackle the enduring challenges in the current adoption system, which includes finding and assessing people who are keen to adopt and finding families for those children for whom it can be harder to find a permanent home.

The County Council submitted a bid along with its partners thechildren’s charity Coram and five other local authorities (Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough) and two voluntary adoption agencies (Adoptionplus and Saint Francis’ Children’s Society).

The intention behind a regional adoption agency is to bring together adoption services in neighbouring local authorities to create more efficient, combined services. This in turn will enable the organisations to share resources and skills on a larger scale than before, give children and their social workers immediate access to an increased pool of adopters and provide wider support services including specialist therapies.

The County Council and its partners will now develop their bid with the assistance of a coach that has been assigned by the Department for Education. By March 2016, it hopes to have a model developed that fits the needs of the children and adopters and sets out the first steps for the creation of the new agency.

Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Buckinghamshire County Council said:

“Children are at the heart of our decision-making process here. Like the rest of the country we really do struggle with finding suitable adoptive parents for older children, sibling groups, children with disabilities and those from black and minority ethnic groups. As part of the regional adoption agency, we will have access to a larger pool of adopters, which will enable us to not only match children with the right family much quicker but also place children with families who share the same culture.

“This new agency will also help us provide value for money as we will be able to consolidate our back office functions as well as front line teams. The intention is to also find creative and innovative ways of delivering better services for children and families.”

Renuka Jeyarajah-Dent, Director of Operations for Coram said:

“This coming together of statutory and voluntary agencies is innovative and visionary and is testament to our shared commitment to improving outcomes for vulnerable children. We will combine the strengths of all our partners and ensure that we do the best we can collectively for the children waiting for an adoptive family across the entire region. The commitment, stability and love of a family is what every child deserves.”

Anyone interested in adoption should continue to contact Buckinghamshire County Council Adoptionservice:
Contact: 0800 160 1900