The innovative partnership between Kent County Council and Coram started in 2012, when the council commissioned Coram as an improvement partner. In the first three years, Coram’s successful management of the council’s adoption service increased the number of children being placed for adoption each year by 133% and the positive Ofsted report indicates that improvements have been sustainable.
Building on this success, Coram has, since 2014, worked with Kent County Council to improve post adoption support, providing a service to support adoptive families to bond and make secure and loving attachments.
Overseen by Coram’s clinical lead and Kent’s Social Work manager, the post adoption service consists of a team of social workers, child/adolescent and adult psychotherapists, family therapists, and a music therapist all with extensive experience of specialist support for adoptive parents and children and an administrator.
The service includes therapeutic case work, parenting skills programmes, support groups with a therapeutic focus and advice and information. In Kent County Council’s latest Ofsted report, published on 13 June 2017, the post adoption support service was praised: “The quality of post adoption support is excellent. The team members are intuitive and use their expertise well. Adopters are extremely positive; one adopter described the support as ‘phenomenal, so pertinent to what we need’.”
The partnership owes its success to the excellent collaborative working with adoptive parents and adopted children and young people. Praising the impact of the therapeutic intervention, one of the adoptive parents said: “The team provides us with much-need therapeutic support. Our family therapist has developed an excellent relationship with our son who responds in a positive way that we have not experienced before. She has provided support through difficult and challenging times, which has been invaluable, we cannot emphasise how excellent this support is.”
Renuka Jeyarajah-Dent, Director of Operations at Coram said: “Our partnership with Kent demonstrates what can be achieved when a specialist charity and a local authority with its statutory duties combines expertise to problem solve in the complex field of achieving lifelong security and stability –- for a child who cannot live with birth parents. We are delighted that this Ofsted report recognises that our combined efforts have benefited children.”
Philip Segurola, Director of Specialist Children’s Services at Kent County Council said: “We are extremely pleased that Ofsted have acknowledged the progress that Kent has made in improving the quality of its adoption services in partnership with Coram. The reference to post adoption support as being excellent is particularly noteworthy and recognises the innovative nature of the services that Kent County Council and Coram provide together in helping us to consistently achieve positive outcomes for those children in need of adoption”
Coram has experience of working with over 30 local authorities to improve practice in children’s services, using its expertise to help them achieve the best outcomes for vulnerable children. Its adoption service is Ofsted Outstanding and its diverse range of services cover the span from early intervention to court and post court order thresholds. Coram-i is Coram’s consultancy which works in partnership with local authorities to improve outcomes for children. To find out more, please visit coram-i.org.uk.
Read the full Ofsted report here.