More local authorities could boost adoption rates by outsourcing to the voluntary sector, according to children’s minister Tim Loughton.
Praising Harrow Council – which outsourced its entire adoption service to the charity Coram in 2006, saving about £440,000 a year – Loughton said he was disappointed other councils had not followed suit.
“The partnership that Coram and Harrow Council have developed makes sound financial sense,” said Loughton at the launch of the government’s updated adoption guidance. “It has had a pretty rapid payback and very successful outcomes for children. It’s strange no other councils have been in touch with Coram to see how they could do something similar.”
He previously said: “Recent statistics show a drop of 15% in the number of children being placed for adoption, which is not good enough. I want to see the number of adoptions rise across the board when there are clearly children in the care system for whom adoption is appropriate.
“Local authorities should be looking to examples like Harrow to see how they can improve their own services and help more children find permanent, loving and stable homes.”
A Department for Education spokesperson confirmed: “We want to see more innovative examples of good practice like the Harrow/Coram domestic adoption partnership and effective adoption consortia working towards better outcomes for children in their communities.”
Under the initiative, Harrow retains overall management of the service, but the day-to-day work of finding homes for children in care is carried out by Coram, based in the council’s children’s services department.
Every child put up for adoption is placed within four months on average, and the partnership has a 100% success rate in finding adoptive parents. The number of children in care recommended for adoption increased from 3% in 2006-7 to 20% in 2008-9.
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