The government has announced £3.4 million funding to create five new Regional Adoption Agencies.
Regional Adoption Agencies were created to bring together groups of local councils to work together on adoption. The regional agencies help widen the pool of potential adoptive families and help match children awaiting adoption with the most suitable family as quickly as possible.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “We want every child to be in the loving, stable home that’s right for them, and adoption can transform the lives of these vulnerable children - and their adoptive families - in a remarkable way.
“By coming together and joining forces through the work of Regional Adoption Agencies, councils can use the network to match children with the right families much more quickly,” he added.
The new Regional Adoption Agencies and the local authorities involved are:
- Kent: made up of Kent, Bexley and Medway
- Coast to Coast: Cumbria, Durham and Sunderland
- Lancashire: Blackpool and Lancashire
- Ambitious for Adoption: Harrow, Bromley, Redbridge, City of London and Slough
- Adoption for South East: Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Brighton and Hove
The funding will be provided to the 17 councils to enable them to speed up the matching process between children waiting to be adopted and prospective adoptive families.
This model also provides more support for adoptive families going through the process and for those considering adoption, as well as helping to improve the quality of services locally.
Regional Adoption Agencies were introduced with a commitment for all councils to join one by 2020. To date, 141 councils have joined a live or developing regional agency.
Chair of the Adoption Leadership Board, Andrew Christie, said: “Regional Adoption Agencies will be the platform on which a modernised adoption service is built; providing better support to adopters and transforming the life chances of many of the most vulnerable children. Funding five more RAA projects is a major step towards this goal.”