The children’s charity Coram, together with Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Norfolk, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough local authorities and the voluntary adoption agencies Adoptionplus and Saint Francis’ Children’s Society, have been successful in their bid to the Government to explore the creation of a regional adoption agency to serve over 230 children requiring adoption.
The intention behind a regional adoption agency is to bring together adoption services in local authorities to more efficient, combined services. This in turn will enable resources and skills to be shared amongst the local authority and voluntary adoption agency partners on a larger scale than before, give children and their social workers immediate access to an increased pool of adopters and the ability to develop wider support services including specialist therapies.
This new way of working together was proposed by the Government 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, such as older children, siblings and those from black and minority ethnic groups, for whom it can be harder to find a permanent home.
The partnership hopes to rise to the challenge and unleash the potential of regionalisation through a model which will best serve vulnerable children in local authority care. In doing so, the partnership will build on the success of Coram Cambridgeshire Adoption (a new voluntary adoption agency which delivers all statutory adoption functions on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council) to create an agency that brings together all the strengths of its partners and delivers a high quality adoption service across the localities. By March 2016, the partners will have determined a model that fits the needs of the children and adopters and made the first steps towards the creation of a new agency. The intention is to find creative and innovative ways of delivering better services for children and families.
Announcing the successful award on behalf of the partnership 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 and in this National Adoption Week we are reminded that children as young as four are still too often considered too old to adopt.”
The news comes during National Adoption Week 2015 (19 to 25 October) which is this year themed is ‘Too old at 4?’aims to draw attention to the children waiting longest for adoptive families whose average age is just four years.