Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, said:
“Every single day a child in the West Midlands spends waiting in care for their new family is a further delay to a life full of love and stability – and so I’m delighted to announce the region will have some of the first Regional Adoption Agencies.
“By coming together and joining forces, councils and adoption agencies across the region will be able to reach across artificial boundaries and access an ever growing pool of approved adopters.”
Research shows that when placing children for adoption, sometimes councils tend to concentrate their efforts on finding local parents first, rather than looking further afield for what might be a better match. This can lead to children waiting much longer than necessary when parents are readily available.
Encouraging councils and adoption agencies to work together will act as a triple win – giving councils a greater pool of adoptive parents to match with children, making adoption support services more widely available and better targeting the recruitment of adopters.
The government will provide financial and practical support for councils and adoption agencies to enable them to bring services together regionally, and implement the greatest step change in the way children are matched for adoption in a generation.
Today’s announcement is evidence of the government’s commitment to reform the adoption system so children waiting are provided with stable and loving homes much more swiftly, giving them the opportunity to settle and bond with their new family.
The government has:
- provided £30m to speed up the finding of adoptive parents in England by covering the costs incurred by councils who find parents beyond their geographical boundaries;
- introduced Regional Adoption Agencies to place children waiting for stable loving homes, quickly;
- removed barriers by ensuring ethnicity is not prioritised over other factors, such as the ability to provide a stable, loving home;
- introduced new rules requiring councils to actively consider fostering for adoption places where appropriate, allowing children to move in with their adoptive family much earlier, and new measures to bring all councils up to the level of the best in terms of the extent to which they use fostering for adoption placements;
- placed mandatory requirement on all councils to tell prospective adopters about their entitlements;
- extended pupil premium funding and priority school admissions so that all children adopted from care are eligible for extra funding at school;
- empowered adoptive parents to choose the school that will best meet their child’s needs.