A proposal to create a new Regional Adoption Agency that aims to improve outcomes for children in care will go before the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet tomorrow (Wednesday).

Councillors will meet to discuss a plan to formally bring together the adoption services of Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley councils and Sandwell Children's Trust to form the Regional Adoption Agency, Adoption@Heart.

It would be hosted by the City of Wolverhampton Council on behalf of the 4 local authorities.

In September, the Association of Black Country Authorities Chief Executives Group and the Chief Executives and Leaders Group endorsed the service design, structure and governance of the Regional Adoption Agency.

It is expected that creating the Regional Adoption Agency would lead to improved permanence planning for children and the creation of a larger pool of adopters, giving increased placement choice. This would enable swifter matching for children and so help reduce the time it takes for a child to be placed with their adoptive family. There would also be a wider range of support services for adoptive families, promoting stability and reducing disruption.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "The creation of the new Regional Adoption Agency, Adoption@Heart, would bring together expertise in adoption services from across the Black Country and ensure we are able to provide the very best service and support to local children, young people and adoptive parents.

"While we do all we can to enable a child to remain with their birth family, it is a sad fact that some simply cannot because of neglect, abuse or because their parents are unable to cope, have fallen ill or have passed away.

"We are proud to have been chosen to be the host authority for Adoption@Heart and will look forward to working closely with our partners across the Black Country to ensure more children and young people who need it are given the stability and support of a permanent and loving family."

Adoption@Heart would be based at Priory Green in Pendeford, owned by City of Wolverhampton Council, with practitioners equipped to work flexibly across the 4 council areas.

Councillors being asked to approve the establishment of the Regional Adoption Agency, its service design, structure and governance, and also approve Wolverhampton as the host authority for it.

The development of Regional Adoption Agencies is part of a national programme to regionalise adoption services.  All councils are expected to deliver their adoption services in this way by 2020. The costs of setting up the RAA are being funded by the Department for Education.

  • released: Tuesday 20¬†November, 2018