Department for Education
Adoption Reform Update – October 2013

Welcome

This month’s bulletin is a bumper issue covering a number of topics. Of particular interest will be the 2013 Looked After Children Statistical First Release, the extension of the Pupil Premium to cover adopted children, and the announcement of funding to increase the recruitment of adopters by the voluntary adoption agency sector. We would also welcome your participation in a short survey about First4Adoption.

Bill Update

• The adoption clauses will be considered by the House of Lords on 9 October 2013. The adoption clauses are expected to be considered on that day, following the debate on amendments tabled to the Bill. You can read the amendments that have been tabled and keep up to date with this stage of the Bill from http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/childrenandfamilies.html

• To help the Lords, the Government has published an adoption update, indicative regulations and indicative guidance. These can be found here (in the downloads column on the right-hand side of the page) and relate to Fostering for Adoption, ethnicity, adoption support, the Adoption Register, contact and the placement of sibling groups. We will be holding a public consultation on the indicative regulations and guidance later in the year.

The 2013 Looked After Children Statistical First Release

• The latest Statistical First Release on Looked After Children and Adoption was published on Thursday 26 September. The latest data shows the following:

• There were 3,980 looked after children adopted during the year ending 31 March 2013, an increase of 15 per cent from 2012 and an increase of 20 per cent from 2009. This represents the highest number of adoptions of looked after children since the current data collection began in 1992.

• 3,350 children were placed for adoption at 31 March 2013. This represents an increase of 16% from 31 March 2012, when the number of children placed for adoption was 2,880.

• Of the 68,110 children looked after at 31 March 2013, 9,240 had a placement order granted. This compares with 7,960 children with a placement order at 31 March 2012 (an increase of 16%).

• The full Statistical First Release can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/244872/SFR36_2013.pdf

• The DfE Press Notice on the Adoption statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-children-adopted-than-ever-before

Pupil Premium extended to adopted children

• On 1 October 2013, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP, announced Pupil Premium Plus. For the first time, children adopted from care under the Adoption and Children Act 2002 will attract the additional funding, worth £1900 per pupil from April 2014. Schools will be able to attract Pupil Premium Plus funding for adopted children if their parents self-declare and present the relevant order to their child’s school.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/100-million-to-support-the-education-of-children-in-care

£16 Million Funding to Increase the Recruitment of Adopters by the Voluntary Adoption Agency Sector

• As you will know from the August bulletin, the Department is significantly strengthening its support for the voluntary sector to address the national shortage of adopters. The Department will be providing up to £16 million to support the growth of the VAA sector over 2013 – 2016 through start-up grants, business development support and expansion grants. Further details on the VAA package is here: http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/families/adoption/b00227148/funding-increase-adopters-recruitment

• Bidding has now closed for the start-up grants and for the business support contract. We expect to go to tender for an organisation to deliver the expansion grants later in October.

Survey about First4Adoption

• The Department would welcome responses to a short survey about the First4Adoption service from adoption agencies (both LA and VAA). We are interested in whether, and how, you refer people to the service; whether you use it and whether it should hold more information about your agency. It would be very helpful to have responses by close Tuesday 15 October. The survey should only take a minute or so to complete and is here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JYCMB3K

Updates from First4Adoption

E-learning

• First4Adoption have set up a working group of professionals to help them to develop the right content for the next e-learning modules. They are in the process of undertaking the technical build for the module framework and it will resemble more traditional type e-learning environment. First4Adoption will post updates on progress via their newsletters http://www.first4adoption.org.uk/register/

Website

• First4Adoption are working on the agency finder development and would like agencies to send them their postcode coverage so they can ensure this works well for all agencies. They are also adding content to their website about ‘Who are the children’ and this will be added in time for National Adoption Week.

BAAF Adoption Recruitment Workshops

• First4Adoption attended the BAAF Adoption recruitment workshops held in September which looked at helping agencies with adoption recruitment and sharing best practice and guidance about recruitment. First4Adoption communicated their insight from adopters about what works well, particularly in terms of how agencies can utilise First4Adoption. First4Adoption are happy to take calls on behalf of your agency and offer mystery shopping for agencies. If anyone wishes to take this up please contact gemma@first4adoption.org.uk

Update from the National Recruitment Forum

• The National Recruitment Forum is working to support LAs and VAAs in addressing the overall shortfall in adopters and the need to recruit adopters for specific groups of children. Amongst those groups, sibling groups feature highly, with 49% of the children awaiting placement and needing to be placed with their siblings, often just one other brother or sister. The attached advice note from the National Recruitment Forum is intended to stimulate discussion amongst children’s teams and adoption teams, support those involved in marketing and PR, provide a brief checklist and support best practice. Please pass it to your colleagues so they can join in the discussion.

• The Forum hopes this update will lead to the sharing of further good practice and resources across the adoption sector so that we can all work together to better meet the needs of children awaiting adoption.

Adoption Reform Grant (ARG) – 30 October deadline for submitting progress reports

• Local authorities are reminded of the requirement to submit a progress report to the Department on their use of ARG Part B funding. The report should include information on what has been achieved, innovative elements of approaches taken and a summary of the impact to date. The deadline for submitting progress reports is 30 October. Further information and the report template are available from the DfE website here.

BAAF Training Update

• DfE has contracted with BAAF to run free seminars to support the adoption reform programme. A limited number of places will be available at each of these sessions to all adoption agencies and adoption support agencies in England.

• The second tranche of training will be run between November 2013 and January 2014 and will focus on the use of Fostering for Adoption and Concurrency and their place in planning permanence for children. It is suggested that to make best use of these sessions local authorities use their 2 free places to send a manager from their adoption or fostering and childcare teams who can take the materials and learning and disseminate them back into their agency.

• These seminars are booking now with early dates booking fast -

Wednesday 6th Nov 2013 – BAAF Newcastle Office – already fully booked

Thursday 14th Nov 2013 – BAAF Leeds Office

Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 – BAAF Birmingham Office

Tuesday 26th Nov 2013 – The Heatons, Manchester

Wednesday 27th Nov 2013 – BAAF London Office

Monday 2nd Dec 2013 – CCS, Bristol

Tuesday 10th Dec 2013 – BAAF Leeds Office

Wednesday 11th Dec 2013 – BAAF Newcastle Office

Friday 13th Dec 2013 – BAAF Birmingham Office

Thursday 19th Dec 2013 – BAAF London Office

Thursday 19th Dec 2013 – The Heatons, Manchester

Monday 13th Jan 2014 – BAAF London Office

Tuesday 14th Jan 2014 – The Heatons, Manchester

Monday 20th Jan 2014 – CCS, Bristol

Wednesday 22nd Jan 2014 – BAAF Leeds Office

Wednesday 22nd Jan 2014 – BAAF Birmingham Office

Tuesday 28th Jan 2014 – BAAF London Office

Wednesday 29th Jan 2014 – BAAF Newcastle Office

• Details and registration forms can be found on the BAAF website at http://www.baaf.org.uk/training/events?page=1  and any enquiries can be sent to dfetraining@baaf.org.uk.

Adoption Parties – Article from The Independent

• The Independent published an article on 24 September about Adoption Parties and their role in allowing hard to place children to meet with prospective adoptive parents. A link to this article is below.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/adoption-parties-the-best-way-to-find-a-child-a-family-8835355.html?origin=internalSearch

Keeping you in touch

We are sending this update to those we have contact details for and look to you to disseminate this bulletin more widely among your colleagues and members. If you do not wish to receive this update please reply to this email and we will ensure your details are removed before any further updates are circulated. If any of your colleagues would like to be added to our circulation list they should send their name, email address and job title to adoption.REFORM@education.gsi.gov.uk.

If you have any suggestions as to how we might make these updates more useful to you – or items you would like to see – please let us know by contacting the email address above.

Department for Education
www.education.gov.uk

 

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