Proposals to combine adoption services at three local authorities in the north are taking shape.
The new Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) will bring Cumbria County Council together with Durham County Council and Together for Children – which provides children’s services on behalf of Sunderland City Council – as well as five voluntary adoption agencies.
The new agency is being developed in response to recent Government guidance that requires councils to join forces in order to make the adoption process quicker, improve recruitment of adopters, improve support for children in their adoptive families and reduce costs related to looked-after children.
Currently, people interested in adoption are being asked for their views on what the new agency should be called as part of a consultation across the three areas. People can share their views at http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/adoption
Lynn Berryman, Cumbria County Council’s Assistant Director for Children and Young People, said: “By working together with colleagues from other local authorities in our region, we will significantly benefit from each other’s expertise and experience – meaning we can improve outcomes for children and adoptive families. There are many benefits to this, but most importantly, we will be able to match children with prospective adopters much more quickly and provide a greater level of support to families.
“We are currently asking people about the name for the new agency and how it should look. I’d encourage anyone interested in adoption to share their views.”
Since December 2016, Cumbria, Durham and Sunderland have been working alongside the Department for Education to develop proposals for an RAA. A Governance Board set up to coordinate the proposals has been awarded a grant of £670,000 from the Department for Education to set up the new organisation.
The county council’s Cabinet will be asked to make a decision on an outline business case for the new agency in February. If Cabinet agrees to the proposals in February, a full business case will be developed and presented to Members later in 2019.