Cumbria Crack

Cumbria to join new adoption partnership

Anne Burns

Cumbria’s participation in a partnership between three local authorities to provide high-quality adoption services has been agreed by the county council’s Cabinet today.

Cumbria County Council is now set to form a Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) partnership with Durham County Council and Together for Children (which delivers children’s services on behalf of Sunderland City Council) to work collaboratively and provide a high standard of adoption services.

Named Adopt Coast to Coast, the partnership has been developed over the last four years in response to a government requirement set out in 2016 to move services into RAAs.

Through this partnership, we will have a wider choice of adopters for children, enabling them to move to the right family at the earliest opportunity.

Sufficient adopters will be recruited to provide a pool of ‘adoption ready’ families to meet the needs of children with a plan of adoption.

The new agency is set to go live in April 2021 and work is now underway to prepare for a full public launch.

Staff at the three local authorities will continue to be employed by their existing organisations and two new posts have been created for the partnership, including the adopter recruitment of an RAA Head of Service.

The teams will work together to achieve the shared vision for Adopt Coast to Coast: “Children will achieve their full potential within a loving and secure family, and everyone affected by adoption will receive a high-quality innovative and sustainable service.”

Cllr Anne Burns, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for People, said: “I’m delighted that we are now moving forward with this new agency. This is all about ensuring that children have the best chance of being matched with the right adoptive family. The preparatory work that has already been done means we are collectively in a great position and I look forward to the new agency becoming operational early next year.”

Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Durham County Council’s Cabinet Member for children and young people’s services, said: “This partnership model between ourselves, Cumbria and Sunderland is one we believe allows us to achieve what has been asked of us by government, providing more efficient adoption services on a larger scale. Over the last four years we have worked with Sunderland and Cumbria to develop this plan. All three authorities already provide adoption services that are rated Good by Ofsted, so this has created a strong foundation for us to continue working collaboratively to develop our plan and find children secure and loving homes.”

Cllr Louise Farthing, portfolio holder for children’s services at Sunderland City Council, said: “I am delighted that the collaboration between Cumbria, Durham and Sunderland has culminated in a hub and spoke model, meaning that children needing loving homes will be matched more easily with adoptive parents, and adoptive parents from Sunderland will continue to be supported by our local, highly experienced Sunderland staff teams.”