Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Hampshire is performing well against Government adoption expectations

Friday, 24 January 2014

Children placed for adoption in Hampshire are spending less time in care than other areas of the country, according to targets for adoption placements issued by the Government on 14 January 2014.

In all three headline areas of the Government's new adoption scorecard, which identifies how council adoption services are performing, Hampshire County Council continues to perform well compared to both statistical neighbour authorities and the national averages for England.

Since November 2012, the average time between a child entering care and moving in with its adoptive family is 599 days - which is 48 days (seven weeks) shorter than the national average of 647 days.

During 2010 - 2013, 58% of children in Hampshire were placed with adoptive families within six months of the placement order being granted by courts. This took an average of 192 days, 18 days ahead of the national average.

In Hampshire the percentage of children who wait less than 21 months between entering care and moving in with their adoptive family is 58% against the national average of 55%. So Hampshire children are being placed for adoption more quickly than the national average.

Councillor Keith Mans, Hampshire County Council's Executive Lead Member for Children's Services and Deputy Leader, said: Over the last 18 months, we have been carefully reviewing our adoption service to ensure it is providing the best possible service to children and young people in Hampshire in our care and the adopters we work with. As part of the review, we have incorporated the Government's adoption reform agenda so that our service performs well and meets expectations set nationally.

"In recent years, Hampshire has seen an increase in the number of children and young people with a range of complex needs and from sibling groups. Our priority is to secure the most appropriate placement for a child. Since January 2013, we have actively focused on ensuring that we recruit adopters willing to consider more complex children and larger sibling groups. This has proved to be very successful in enabling these children to be adopted. Currently, we are recruiting a full range of adopters to ensure the best possible match is made to meet the individual needs of a child, thereby securing the best possible longer term outcomes for that child.

"For some children, older teenagers for example, other placement options may be more appropriate for them than adoption, including special guardianship orders where a child may be brought up by a relative such as a grandparent, uncle or aunt. Hampshire's high performance in this area has an impact on our adoption figures appearing to be lower than they otherwise would be.

"We have also invested in more specialist assessors so that we are able to assess more potential adopters. This means that we will be able to assess 90 adopters over the next 12 months. We have been encouraged by the increased interest in adopting in the county but there will be a continuing need for adopters.

"We are still looking for a full range of adopters who are willing and able to take on sibling groups of three children, older children, and children with complex needs and disabilities. We would welcome further discussion with anymore interested in these children who are especially in need of loving and supportive families. Like any other parenting, adoption is challenging but it is also very rewarding to help a child who may have had a difficult start in life to grow and thrive."

Further information about Hampshire's adoption service is available at www.hants.gov.uk/adoption or by calling 0845 603 5620.

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