Brent Adoption Service Report - 1 October 2017 - 31 March 2018
The purpose of this report is to provide information to the Council’s Corporate Parenting Committee about the general management of the adoption service and how it is achieving good outcomes for children. This report details the activity of Brent’s adoption service from 1 October 2017 – 31 March 2018.
Onder Beter (Head of Service for Looked After Children and Permanency) introduced the Brent Adoption Service Report, 1 October 2017 to 31 March 2018. Members’ attention was drawn to the performance data set out at section 4 of the report. The committee heard that performance against the two most significant indicators had continued to improve, these being A1 - the time taken from a child entering care to being placed for adoption, and A2 – the time from receiving court authority to place a child for adoption and a match being approved. There had been a 26 per cent improvement for A1 since the previous reporting period and at 378.7 days, this was significantly lower than the national average of 558 days. Similarly, there had been a 12 per cent improvement for A2 since the previous reporting period, and this measure too fell significantly below the national average. Members were informed that there had been nine children adopted in 2017/18 and as at 31 March 2018, there were 12 children with a plan of adoption who had not yet been adopted, the reasons for which were set out in the report. Outlining adopter recruitment activity, Onder Beter highlighted that at 31 March 2018 there were five adoptive households waiting for an adoptive placement.
Members were subsequently directed to section 6 of the report which set out service improvements. Onder Beter noted that Brent’s first Child Appreciation Day was being organised. These days aimed to bring all professionals working with the child to meet prospective adopters, share information and show appreciation of the child’s journey. A festive party for kinship carers had also been held for the first time and had been very well received. Quarterly support groups had been established for Special Guardianship Carers and monthly drop in sessions were now held for Birth Parents. In concluding his introduction, Onder Beter reminded members of the impending regionalisation of Adoption and advised that a report was scheduled to be submitted to the Cabinet in September 2018 detailing proposals for how this would proceed.
In the following discussion, the committee questioned whether support for the letter box exchange had commenced. Members queried whether the level of adoptive households was in keeping with the numbers of children being placed for adoption and sought particular comment on the efforts to recruit Somali adopters. Members also sought clarification on the financial implication of a Brent adopter being matched with a child from another local authority area and requested details of matching considerations for LGBT adopters.
Responding to the queries raised, Onder Beter advised that he would seek confirmation on the progress of the letterbox exchange. With regard to the number of adoptive households, recruitment activity would be accelerated in the coming months to reflect the national increase in the number of children waiting to be adopted. The activities aimed at recruiting Somali adopters had generated a number of enquiries, one of which had progressed to an assessment but work would be ongoing. Nigel Chapman explained that a standardised transfer fee was charged for an adopter being matched with a child from another local authority area. With regard to the process of matching a child with prospective adopters, each case was judged separately and the prospective adopters’ wishes and strengths would be taken into consideration.
The Chair thanked the officers for their contribution to the meeting.
RESOLVED: that the Brent Adoption Service Report, 1 October 2017 to 31 March 2018 be noted.