Councils receive funding to form regional adoption agencies

The Department for Education has made £4.5m of funding available for councils to form regional adoption agencies to help match children with adoptive parents quicker.

Children and families minister Edward Timpson MP said that the money would help councils meet the costs of forming the new agencies. The government wants all authorities to be collaborating in groups by 2020.

Timpson, who grew up with two adopted brothers, said: “It doesn’t matter whether adoptive parents are from Reading or Rochdale, Cornwall or Cumbria – what matters ultimately is their ability to open up their hearts to a vulnerable child in need of a loving family.

“Every single day a child spends waiting in care for their new family is a further delay to a life full of love and stability. This just isn’t good enough. Where adoption is proven to be in the best interest of the child, we have a moral mission to make sure they are matched quickly with parents who are right for them – regardless of where they live.

“The new funding announced today will help councils come together and access an ever growing pool of approved adopters – creating families quickly and successfully.”

DfE figures show that last year, more than 5,000 children were found a permanent home through adoption. However, more than 3,000 children remain waiting to be matched, with more than half having spent more 18 months in care.

Around one in three children are left waiting longer than necessary due to councils’ reluctance to look outside their immediate area for adoptive parents, the DfE said.

The government’s plan to introduce regional adoption agencies was introduced in the Queen’s Speech last month.

David Simmonds, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said that increasing collaboration had already helped find more children permanent homes.

“This success comes from a strong relationship between councils, independent adoption agencies and national government,” he said. “Collaboration works best when it is driven by the councils themselves, so the government's promise of financial and practical support for local areas to move forward with their own proposals is useful.”

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