Baaf Adoption and Fostering looks set to take over the running of
the adoption register from charity Norwood.
After three controversial years, the government and the Welsh
assembly has decided that a new approach to running the register
was needed. They announced this week that they had chosen Baaf
Adoption and Fostering as the preferred bidder to operate the
register and have opened talks with it.
The Department for Education and Skills expects Baaf Adoption and
Fostering to take over the register from December with the new
contract likely to run for three years subject to funding being
made available beyond March 2006.
Norwood won the initial contract to run the register in September
2001, but adoption professionals complained the process of
“matching” prospective adopters with children was flawed. In its
first full year of operation – April 2002 to March 2003 – it made
just 75 matches.
Even now the number of matches is only 120. Despite Norwood’s claim
that this is not the register’s primary role, it is clear the
government wants more for the £2m already invested in the
Norwood’s director of fostering and adoption, Ruth Fasht, said her
organisation’s proposal for continuing to run the register was
built on the “original vision” of developing a database of all
children available for adoption and prospective approved adopters.
She said the DfES had “decided to move on from this concept”. She
added: “What the department has preferred is a more selective
approach with only certain children being referred.”
Baaf Adoption and Fostering chief executive Felicity Collier said
the register would focus on matching prospective adopters with
children and not its other role of collecting information about all
children put up for adoption. “The prime intention of the next
phase of the register is to maximise the number of children that
are matched,” she said.
The register is seen by ministers as key to substantially
increasing the number of adoptions in England, a policy championed
by the prime minister as a way to reduce the number of children in