Brent response to adoption figures

UPDATE ON PREVIOUS POST – A statement on Brent’s adoption figures has been released and is as follows:

The London Borough of Brent is committed to adoption as a positive placement option for child in care and actively considers this for all children who require a permanent placement.

There are two main indicators concerning permanency and adoption; the first measures the % of children placed permanently (including Adoption and Special Guardianship Orders) whilst the second measure the timeliness of placements following adoption decision.

In 2010/11, 23 children (9%) were placed permanently from care in Brent. This figure includes those placed under both Adoption and Special Guardianship Orders. This percentage is higher than statistical neighbours and this level of performance has been sustained over the past two years. In 2011/12 we anticipate this number increasing to approximately 28.

We recognise that the timeliness of adoptions is crucial and this has already been identified as a key area for improvement in the Borough. Significant progress has already been made and in the current year, there are only 4 children awaiting adoption who are outside of the 12 months indicator. These are all children with incredibly complex needs, where after extensive family finding activity, alternative plans now have to be made to ensure that they do not drift within the system.

However, whilst timeliness is important, it is equally the case that children need to be placed with carers who have the skills to meet their needs to ensure that the placements are sustainable. This has been a success in Brent and in the last two years, we have only had one adoption breakdown.

The vast majority of children requiring permanent placements are older, in sibling groups, have complex needs or are subject to lengthy and complicated legal proceedings. These factors all have an effect on the timeliness of placements and improvements can only be achieved by addressing all areas together. Our work focuses on finding permanent placements for those with the most complex of needs and we are working alongside the West London Adoption Consortium and other London Authorities to address this.

Finally, we have invested heavily in recruiting more adopters for Brent children over the last 9 months and we are currently assessing 21 potential adopters against a figure of 9 at the same time last year.

Brent is always keen to recruit more adopters and in particular those who can offer adoptive placement to older children, sibling groups and children with complex needs.

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