New collaboration helps children find long-term stability
Children needing adoption should be able to find a long-term solution more quickly, thanks to an innovative project.
Telford & Wrekin is joining forces with Shropshire Council, Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council to create the Together4Children adoption agency.
Backed by the Department for Education, which has invested more than £600,000 in developing the project, Together4Children will focus on achieving permanent placements for adoption faster than before.
Previously there could be a situation where a single authority had older siblings who didn’t want to separate and parents looking for a single baby, or children with a specific cultural background and no prospective parents available – so children stayed in short term placements and the adults were frustrated.
Now, the four authorities will share information on children and the prospective parents available to increase the opportunities of keeping family groups together, finding loving homes for older children, and those who have other specific needs.
The Together4Children partnership, which launched this week (28th Sept) is one of the first of its type in the country and builds on central government’s goal of creating regional adoption services by joining forces to improve services for all children who need long-term and permanent care.
The four authorities will maintain current levels of investment in the service that fall within the partnership arrangements and each council will retain responsibility for children from its area.
The initial partnership will be for two years, with the option for a further three until September 2025. The Partnership’s aim is to progress to long-term fostering and guardianship.
At present, the four authorities have 35 children in need of adoption.
Cllr Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet member for Children, Young People, Education and Lifelong Learning, said “The new partnership between the four authorities will help us match children and the right carers more quickly, providing greater stability for children and offering more support for parents.”
“Increasing the number and diversity of potential families across the region widens the choice of potential adopters, which helps us achieve the best outcomes for children by helping to keep siblings together, find loving homes for older children, and for children who have other specific needs.”
“The great thing about this partnership is that it increases children’s chances of finding long-term stability faster than before and we know that children who are more settled get a better start in life: their health and wellbeing, academic performance and long-term employment prospects are all improved.”
“Not only do we support our children in finding long-term stability, but this partnership allows us to invest in our carers too, so they feel better trained and able to provide the loving homes these youngsters need.”