Department for Education
Adoption Reform Update – February 2014 (Second Update)

Welcome to this additional February 2014 update

Hot on the heels of our earlier February update, we are issuing this additional update to announce the launch of our consultation exercise, Adoption: Getting It Right, Making it Work. We are also republishing both the First4Adoption and the ARG Allocations items that appeared in last week’s February update to include corrections to both.

Unusually, this update contains a large number of attachments relating to various items. We have summarised all the attachments at the bottom of the update and the items they refer to.

Consultation – Adoption: Getting It Right, Making it Work

Today [28 February] sees the launch of the Government’s consultation Adoption: Getting It Right, Making It Work. The consultation document will be available on both the Department for Education’s website at: and on www.GOV.UK. The consultation lasts until 11 April and we would very much welcome your comments.

We are consulting on:

  • the regulatory changes flowing from the Children and Families Bill relating to

o Fostering for Adoption,

o matching considerations (ethnicity),

o the duty on local authorities to provide information about adoption support,

o the Adoption and Children Act Register, and

o contact for looked after and adopted children.

o the placement of siblings when adoption is the plan (this was not part of the Bill)

  • These changes are made in four sets of Regulations and in the statutory guidance on adoption and the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations: Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review. A consequential amendment to the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 has been included. This reflects the new duty introduced by clause 90 for every local authority to appoint an officer to the Virtual School Head role.
  • A change to the outcome in standard 13 of the Adoption National Minimum Standards.
  • A slimmed down version of the current statutory adoption guidance.

We would like to encourage everyone who has an interest in adoption to give us their views and anything you can do to help us spread the word would be very much appreciated. Perhaps you could tweet about the consultation, post an article or blog on your website or simply forward this email to people you work with.

ARG Allocations for 2014-15 (Correction)

A further £50 million Adoption Reform Grant will be allocated to local authorities in 2014-15 to continue to support the work to improve adoption services. The grant will not be ring-fenced and has been allocated using a similar formula to the non ring-fenced element of last year’s grant. Local authorities will be able to use the funding at their discretion in order to meet local need. Further information, including a list of individual local authority allocations is available on www.GOV.UK.

First4Adoption (Correction)

First4Adoption has seen lots of calls, emails and web traffic following the Channel 4 documentary ‘Finding Mum and Dad’. F4A has seen an increase in activity in general adoption enquiries as well as enquiries about the children featured in the programme. It also secured a very supportive article on the ‘Best’ magazine website about adoption activity days (

First4Adoption has been working with an organisation to take forward the Kindred research published by the Department in 2013. This work examines the attributes, motivators and drivers of potential adopters to help agencies to better understand who to target with their recruitment work. F4A is planning to hold a series of workshops in March which we would encourage all agencies, particularly marketing and recruitment specialists, to attend. The workshops will be held on 7 March in London, 10 March in Birmingham and 14 March in Manchester (all will begin at 11am and finish by 3pm). Please contact Gemma Gordon-Johnson at F4A for further information and to book a place (

ITV Adoption Documentaries

First4Adoption has been working with an independent film and television company called Wall To Wall which has been commissioned by ITV to make a documentary series about adoption. The series will consist of four programmes which will air in April and May on ITV at peak time. The attached note provides some information about the series and some hints for adoption agencies.

01 First4Adoption - Adoption Series

Improving Responses to Initial Adoption Enquiries

First4Adoption has prepared a good practice note about handling initial enquiries. This is based on recent research by the University of East Anglia, commissioned by BAAF (‘Success factors in adopter recruitment: Insights from adoption agency social worker managers and marketing officers’) and experience of First4Adoption – the National Gateway for Adoption - through feedback from enquirers to the service’s information line and as a result of ‘mystery shopping’ exercises completed in 2013.

02 First4Adoption - Initial Adoption Enquiries

Supporting the team around the child

The following adoption and fostering Train the Trainer events and materials will enable evidence-informed practice with foster carers and adopters.

Two Train the Trainer places for every local authority will be funded by the Department for Education. Nine regional two-day events will equip participants with research-rich content and training materials to cascade learning to practitioners in this field.

The content is informed by The College of Social Work’s Curriculum framework for CPD in this area of practice.

Venue and City Part 1 Part 2
Signing Tree Conference Centre, Birmingham 26 February 19 March
King’s House Conference Centre, Manchester 4 March 1 April
University of Surrey, Guildford (Part 1 – Stag Hill   Campus, Part 2 – Manor Park Campus) 5 March 25 March
Engineers’ House, Bristol 6 March 25 March
University of Leicester, Leicester 11 March 2 April
Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds (Part 1 – City   Campus, Part 2 – Headingley Campus) 13 March 30 April
Vermont Hotel, Newcastle 19 March 29 April
Cambridge City Hotel, Cambridge 27 March 30 April
National Council for Voluntary Organisations   (NCVO), London 1 April 29 April

To request a place:

For information:

03 Supporting the team around the child - Train the Trainer Events

Update from the Adoption Register

The Adoption Register held its fifth exchange day of the year in London in January attracting a record number of 139 sets of prospective adopters. The previous 4 events have resulted in a total of 61 children being matched with 46 families. Our final exchange day of this financial year is in Bolton on March 19th 2014 and we already have a programme of 6 events planned for 2014/15

For more information contact

Call for Evidence on Mental Health

The Parliamentary Health Select Committee recently announced an inquiry into child and adolescent mental health and CAMHS. There is an opportunity to contribute evidence to this inquiry. This is very timely and an important chance to highlight the particular mental health needs of children adopted from care and barriers to addressing these needs. The deadline for written submissions to the committee is noon on 19 March. Here is the link to further information about the inquiry and how to submit evidence should you wish to:

Honours Nomination for New Year’s Round 2015

The Department would be delighted to receive nominations for people from all sectors of the diverse adoption community.

The honours system recognises people of outstanding merit, and those who have committed themselves to service to the nation. Nominations for honours are welcomed for people in all sectors of the community, but currently few are received from the full spectrum of adopters or those working in adoption, including members of the many ethnic minority communities and those carers in non-traditional households.

Honours can be awarded for all sorts of work - paid or unpaid - but nominees should have a history of sustained service and be currently involved in the activity for which they are nominated. Nominees should be people who have made a difference in their field of work or community, exemplified the best sustained and selfless service, earned the respect of their peers and improved the lot of those less able to help themselves.

Anyone can be nominated, but only exceptional people are honoured. More detailed information on the rules for honours nominations can be found on the DirectGov website.

Nominations for honours can be submitted any time during the year. Please be aware however that if you are nominating an individual to be considered for the New Year’s round 2015 then the nomination needs to be received by Monday 31st March 2014.

Attached to this bulletin is a citation form together with instructions to assist with the completion of the form. If you know of someone who deserves an honour then please email the completed nomination form to

04 Honours Nomination 2015 - Citation Form Instructions 05 Honours Nomination 2015 - Citation Form

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, job title and contact details to

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.

Summary of attachments

  • ITV Adoption Documentaries 01 First4Adoption – Adoption Series
  • Improving Responses to Initial Adoption Enquiries 02 First4Adoption – Initial Adoption Enquiries
  • Supporting the Team Around the Child 03 Supporting the Team Around the Child – Train the Trainer Events
  • Honours Nomination for New Years' Round 2015 04 Honours Nomination 2015 - Citation Form Instructions 05 Honours Nomination 2015 - Citation Form

Adoption Reform Team
Department for Education
February 2014