East Midlands adoption agency will give bigger pool of families for Derby children

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

A regional agency, which will include Derby City Council, is expected to give children up for adoption a bigger and better chance of finding potential families.

The shared D2N2 regional adoption agency, which will also include Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham councils, was given the green light by Derby city councillors at last night’s cabinet meeting.

A pilot scheme was set up last June and its positive progress since means that each local authority is now seeking the go-ahead from its members to set up a permanent regional agency from September.

Councillor Sara Bolton, Derby City Council cabinet member for children and young people and safeguarding, said: “There are many benefits to regionalisation, as the strength of the combined regional provision will likely strengthen our own development.

Sara Bolton, councillor for Chaddesden

“The main benefits of the changes include improving performance and consistency across the East Midlands, having a bigger pool of prospective adopters and children, and ensuring a culture of excellence in adoption practice is realised.”

A regional home finding and matching model is being developed to maximise the opportunities of matching children across the whole of the East Midlands. This will bring particular benefits for Derby as the council often has to place Derby children outside of the city due to the risk of identification of children by birth families.

Between 2012 and 2015, an average of 42 children a year were placed for adoption in Derby– 44% remained within the city.

People potentially adopting children could work with the regional agency from September

People potentially adopting children could work with the regional agency from September

The total budget for running the regional agency is expected to be around £8 million a year, of which Derby would contribute £1.6 million. Fifteen staff from the city council will be needed to join 75 staff from the other local authorities to operate the agency.

The 2016 Education and Adoption Act amends the Adoption and Children Act 2002, so that local authorities are no longer required to maintain an adoption service within their area but may secure provision by other local authorities or registered adoption societies.

The other local authorities will consider making the agency a permanent function over the next couple of months.

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