Since 3 July 2017, Manchester City Council’s adoption services have been delivered jointly with four other local authorities and two voluntary adoption agencies through a regional adoption agency known as Adoption Counts.
Due to this, many significant changes have taken place since Manchester’s last OFSTED report in 2014, including the posting of a new Director of Children’s services, Chief Executive and a Chair of the Local Childrens’ Safeguarding Board.
As a result, in their latest OFSTED review at the end of 2017, Manchester’s Adoption performance was judged as being ‘Good’, a fantastic improvement from being ‘Inadequate’ in the 2014 review.
The report highlighted many improvements that the service had made, including the following:
- Recruitment of adopters is targeted effectively to address children’s needs and gaps in resource. There has been an overall increase in approved adopters, especially for children for whom it is more challenging to find adopters, such as Black children, brothers and sisters together, older children and disabled children.
- Adoption is now considered at the earliest indication that the child cannot live with their birth parents.
- The team are dedicated to finding placements for those children who are considered more difficult to place. There has been particular success in securing adoption for minority ethnic children and in placing children through ‘fostering to adopt’ arrangements.
- Priority is given to ensuring that children receive age-appropriate direct work that helps them to understand why they were not able to remain with their birth family.
- Panel scrutiny of adopters’ approvals and matches is rigorous, child-focused and well informed.
Adoption Counts are looking forward to celebrating their first birthday, which is coming up in July! It is absolutely fantastic that so many positive improvements have been made in such a short period of time and our fingers are crossed that they will continue to do so!