[To receive the Annual Adoption Report.]
Alison Hinds, Head of Children and Young People presented the Adoption Annual Report and highlighted salient points. The report outlined adoption performance from April 2018 – March 2019 and provided an update on the work carried out by the Adoption Team throughout this period. It also included an update on the progress made towards the Regional Adoption Agency (RAA).
It was noted that this would be the last Adoption Annual Report that would come solely from City of Wolverhampton Council. Future submissions would be worked on jointly by the authorities making up the regional adoption agency (RAA) and an interim report was to be provided in the next six months.
It was highlighted that the focus remained on early permanence, meaning ensuring children were settled in long-term or permanent placements at the earliest opportunity.
It was noted that Wolverhampton had performed well by achieving more placements than other neighbouring authorities; 43 adoption orders and six permanent placements had been secured last year.
It was highlighted that although national targets were high, Wolverhampton were performing strongly towards meeting these.
It was queried what the greatest barriers to increasing the number of permanent placements were. In response to this, it was noted that the main barriers were low numbers of people coming forward to adopt and the rise in children needing adoption, although these were not just local but national issues. To make a difference regionally, it was hoped to use the RAA to recruit more adopters.
It was suggested that the Authority could explore other successful adoption processes followed internationally to determine if further inspiration could be drawn from models overseas.
It was noted that a large number of authorities had come together to form similar adoption agencies to Adoption@heart and 19 such agencies existed across the country. It was thought this formed more manageable groups and issues around adoption could be tackled jointly.
It was suggested that, although there were targets for timeliness of adoption, it was more important to take time to ensure placements were of greatest benefit for the children, particularly in cases of keeping sibling groups together or placing hard-to-place children.
In response to a query regarding the matching process, it was clarified that the service was led primarily by the needs of the child and assessment of adopters. It was clarified that a holistic approach was used and time taken to ensure the best match possible.
That the Adoption Annual Report April 2018 – March 2019 be received.