Regional adoption agency to
be set up
A Regional Adoption Agency covering
Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton and Wirral is set to be established.
It follows a successful bid to the Government last year by local authorities on
Merseyside to create a new organisation to get more children placed successfully
as quickly as possible.
The new agency; set to be launched in January 2018; will bring together a team
of around 50 staff from across the four Councils who will be seconded into the
new organisation on their existing terms and conditions.
Responsibilities will include recruitment, approval and ongoing support for
adopters, tracking, linking and matching of children and the training and
development of staff.
Although the Regional Adoption Agency will have a centralised hub, staff will
continue to have a presence in each of their local authority areas to ensure
they retain close links with social work staff.
Every year, the 4 local authorities approve around 100 adopters each year and
place approximately 140 children for adoption.
Councillor Joan Lilly, Knowsley Council's Cabinet Member for Children's
Services, said:- "Adoption really can change a child's life so I'm
delighted that the Regional Adoption Agency could offer greater opportunities
for children in our region. Having shared resources, expertise and processes
will provide enormous benefits to our children and young people, as well as the
local authorities taking part."
Councillor Barry Kushner, Cabinet member for children's services in Liverpool,
said:- "This proposal will mean we are able to provide a better service
for children and adopters. At the moment each local authority is effectively
competing with each other for adopters and there is a great deal of duplication
of effort. By creating a regional agency, we will be able to widen the net of
potential adopters, share expertise and ideas and make sure adopters and
children get a consistent level of support, regardless of where they live. This
shows the potential of working across authorities and further collaboration on
residential care, fostering and leaving care."
Councillor John-Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and
Safeguarding at Sefton Council, said:- "In Sefton, we are currently
looking for adoptive families for 16 local children and young people. We know
that we often receive enquiries from across the Liverpool City Region, so it
makes sense that we are collaborating with our neighbours to meet the challenges
we face together and increase the potential for our vulnerable children to find
a forever family. I'm looking forward to this new regional adoption agency
making the process for would be adopters quicker and more effective as both they
and children in Sefton and the wider region are matched so they begin their new
Councillor Tony Smith, Cabinet member for children and family services in
Wirral, said:- "Finding the right, most appropriate and loving adoptive
parents for a child is incredibly important. Wirral is lucky to have hundreds of
foster carers and prospective adopters across the borough, all doing a fantastic
job in supporting vulnerable children. The proposals in this report help us go
even further, and create a regional adoption agency; allowing access to a bigger
pool of adopters, quicker and more efficient processes and, crucially, a much
better chance of matching a child with the perfect adoptive family."
Consultation has already taken place with staff and trade unions, and adopters
are also being kept informed.
Reports recommending the approval of the Regional Adoption Agency will be
considered by each Council's Cabinet over the next few weeks, with Wirral
Council the first to do so, on Monday, 27 March 2017.