Adoption in Nottinghamshire on the rise

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THE number of children who have been matched with adoptive parents by Nottinghamshire County Council since last April has increased by 55 per cent on the previous year.

During 2012/13, permanent homes have been found for 86 children in care compared with 51 the year before.

And over the same period, the number of people being approved as adopters has risen by 50 per cent to 48 from 31.

Shelagh Mitchell, adoption service manager at the council said: “It’s obviously pleasing to see such a significant increase in the number of children being matched with adoptive families

“But even though the number of adopters we’ve approved is also up considerably on the previous two years, this still isn’t keeping pace with the ongoing increase in the demand for placements which sadly means there are always some children waiting.”

The council currently has 891 children in care (as at end February 2013).

At the council’s monthly ‘homefinding’ meeting in March, it discussed 111 children all in need of a permanent home. And whilst a match has been found for the majority of those children, 45 are currently still waiting to be adopted.

“Of the 45, six are sibling groups of two, three are sibling groups of three, with a further three having a severe disability. And of the total, 27 are male, which just goes to show the challenge we face with placing boys and keeping brothers and sisters together,” added Shelagh.

Over the past month, the council has been running a campaign urging people who’ve considered fostering and adoption, but thought they weren’t eligible, to get in touch with them.

And as part of it efforts to relieve pressures on the county’s children’s social care services, the council will be recruiting a second ‘homefinder’ social worker to focus on finding a match for children who are more difficult to place.

Since its first homefinder was appointed in 2011, the Council has been able to reduce the time children spend waiting for a family and in care - most Notts adopters now wait less than four months to have children matched to them.

Shelagh continued: “Our homefinding work includes making sure we have excellent profiles of children available and taking part in adoption activity days.

“And we’ll continue to seek reducing delays for children, in all ways possible. We expect to look at other changes to practice in future, such as adopters being approved as foster carers for children to enable earlier placement.”

To find out more about adopting or fostering, call the council’s recruitment teams on 0845 301 8899 (for fostering) or 0845 3012288 (for adoption) or visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering.