New Government funding worth £4.5 million is to be available to regional adoption agencies to help place children with new permanent families faster than ever before.
The injection of cash will mean the first regional adoption agencies - groups of councils coming together to match children quickly with adoptive parents - will be up and running months earlier than planned. The Government says that this is an excellent start to its plans to revolutionise the adoption system by placing all councils in regional adoption agencies by the end of this Parliament, as announced in the Queen’s Speech.
Last year, more than 5,000 children were found the permanent home they desperately need - a record increase of 26% in just 12 months. However, more than 3,000 children apparently remain waiting to be matched with their new parents, with over half having spent more 18 months in care despite their being adopters readily available.
At the moment, adoption is happening at too small and localised a scale, says the Government. A recent study showed that in around a third of cases, children were left waiting longer than necessary due to council’s reluctance to look outside their immediate area for the right family.
By encouraging councils to work together, the potential matches for a child would increase significantly, giving children a far better chance of quickly finding a permanent family.
The Government’s plan to introduce regional adoption agencies was introduced in the Queen’s Speech last month. It says that actively encouraging councils to join forces and work together as regional adoption agencies will act as a triple win:
- giving councils a greater pool of approved adopters with which to match vulnerable children successfully, first time,
- making vital support services more widely available to adoptive families as and when they need them, and
- better targeting the recruitment of adopters.
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