READING has said goodbye to its adoption team as they join a newly created regional agency.
The five staff will now be working from offices in Woodley for the new regional adoption agency, Adopt Thames Valley (ATV), which came into existence on Friday 1st December.
The service is a partnership between seven local authorities, including Bracknell Forest, Oxfordshire County, Swindon, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham councils and voluntary adoption agencies.
ATV will take responsibility for all recruitment, matching of children and support for adopters.
Over the last 10 years, Reading’s Adoption Services team have arranged for 182 children to be adopted, aged from under two-years-old to 16-years-old. Twenty-two sibling groups have been adopted over the same period, including two groups of three children.
In terms of the percentage of Looked After Children leaving care via adoption, Reading’s team have performed better than their statistical neighbours for eight out of the last 10 years; better than their South East neighbours for nine out of the last 10 years and better than the national average for nine out of the last 10 years.
The team have also arranged for around 16 or 17 Special Guardianship Orders per year, most often with grandparents taking responsibility for their grandchild.
A leaving party was held for the team on Thursday 30th November to thank them for their hard work caring for Reading children, adopters and their families over the years.
Cllr Jan Gavin, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, said:
“I would like to thank the members of Reading’s Adoption Service who have worked hard to find so many stable and caring homes for children requiring a permanent placement.
“Their dogged determination has enabled them to find families for older and more difficult to place children and they should be very proud of their achievements.
“I am confident they will continue to use their skill and experience to play a vital role in the new regional adoption agency which will provide benefits for children, adopters and the councils involved.”
ATV has been formed in advance of the government’s requirement for all local authorities to be part of a regional adoption agency (RAA) by 2020.
The partnership is expected to provide more options for placements and provide better value for all the councils involved.