A new leadership board, headed by Sir Martin Narey, will advise the government on how to boost adoption numbers, it was announced today.
Chaired by Narey, who has been advising ministers on adoption issues since 2012, the board will provide independent advice to ministers on how to drive improvements in the adoption system, ensuring local authorities meet their adoption targets.
Its members include senior figures from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), the Local Government Association, the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies, the British Association of Adoption and Fostering and Adoption UK.
Announcing the leadership board and Narey’s appointment today, children’s minister Edward Timpson highlighted the current shortage of adopters and the 6,000 children still waiting for an adoptive family.
“That is why our new Adoption Leadership Board – headed up by Sir Martin Narey – will play an important role in ensuring that not only local authorities and adoption agencies stay on track but that we do what we can to improve the system and recruit even more adopters than ever before,” Timpson said.
Sir Martin Narey said: “I am delighted to see that many of the recommendations I made to ministers in 2012 about adoption and siblings; adoption and contact; fostering before adoption and ethnicity and adoption matching have now found themselves in law as part of the new Children and Families Act.
“But there is still much more to be done before every child in England who needs the love and permanence that adoption brings finds an adoptive home speedily. And there is a great deal more needed to ensure that adoptive parents receive all the support that is necessary to ensure that their adoption succeeds.”
ADCS president Alan Wood, who will sit on the board, said he was looking forward to the challenge. “By collaborating and complementing each other’s work will we be able to more effectively meet the real challenges we all face to achieve our common objectives,” he said.
He added: “Local authorities, in conjunction with their voluntary adoption agency partners, have already made significant progress to address the national shortage of adopters.
“We are now seeing more adopters being recruited and more children being matched with permanent families in a timely fashion.”
Ministers today also revealed the progress of First4Adoption, the government-funded information service set up to help with adopter recruitment.
Since it opened in April 2013 96,000 people have contacted the service and 6,800 of them went on to directly contact an adoption agency of their choice. Last year also saw a 34% increase in adopters and a record 15% rise in adoptions.