Council defends adoption record

NOTTS County Council has defended leagues tables published this week ranking the authority poorly on its adoption performance.

Figures reveal the council scored a 55 per cent average over three years for placing children with adoptive families within 12 months.

The authority, which placed 61 per cent of children for adoption last year, said it is one of a minority registering an increase in performance year on year but this three-year average meant they scored poorly nationally.

Cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services Coun Philip Owen recognised that improvements needed to be made.

“Whilst recognising Notts’ position in the league table is low, I am confident that as an authority we are on an upward trend and there are a number of reasons for our league table position,” he said.

“The main reason is simply around the issue that Notts makes ambitious adoption plans for older children, disabled children and families with siblings.”

“We are committed to finding permanent homes for all these groups and traditionally it takes longer to place a child over the age of three.”

Coun Owen also stressed that despite budget cuts across the authority, the Children’s Social Care budget had increased by £25 million.

The authority said it has also increased the number of adoption panels from two to three in the last year and experienced an unprecedented increase in workload following the Baby P case in 2008.

Coun Owen said: “Despite this increase we remain committed to finding the best outcome possible for children and if that means waiting a couple of years so that families can be kept together or a disabled child gets the right family then we will continue to do so.”

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring children and young people in Nottinghamshire up for adoption are placed safely and appropriately as quickly as possible.”

The authority is also looking at a number of innovative ways to improve their adoption rates.

It recently ran an Adoption Activity Day in conjunction with the British Association of Adoption and Fostering, brought together 20 children ranging in age from 12 months to 9 years to meet approved adopters.