Cabinet members have approved a report on the regionalisation of adoption in South Yorkshire at their meeting today, Wednesday 7 October. The Barnsley Adoption Service will join with adoption services in Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster to create ‘Adopt South Yorkshire’, a regional adoption agency (RAA). This partnership will work together to recruit, assess and approve potential adopters and match and place children needing adoptive placements. The joint arrangements will begin in January 2021.
Working together will provide a greater pool of approved adopters to improve matching and speed up the adoption process for children and families. Regionalisation will mean that vital support services will be more widely available to adoptive families to support them before and after adoption. Working together will mean that it’s easier to identify practice improvements and make positive changes to adoption in South Yorkshire. This will, in turn, improve outcomes for looked after children.
Local authorities were directed by the Department of Education to join a RAA by 2021. The South Yorkshire Regional Adoption Agency (SYRAA) will be hosted by Doncaster Children’s Service Trust, who will act as the lead authority. The SYRAA will be a partnership between the four organisations: Barnsley Council, Sheffield City Council, Rotherham Council and Doncaster Council’s Children’s Trust. The new arrangements will ensure the best use of resources across the region.
Although the practice and processes for recruiting adopters and placing children will remain largely the same, the new RAA will be operating on a larger scale across a larger and more diverse geographical area. This will mean that the adoption service will be more consistent across the four local authorities and will have increased capacity across a broader area and recruit more adopters. For children, it will mean greater access to a more diverse pool of adopters, enabling them to be matched and placed with their forever families earlier. As part of this work, the SYRAA will also be working with voluntary adoptions agencies to support service delivery across the region.
Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for Children’s Services, said: “We are really pleased that Barnsley will be part of the South Yorkshire regional adoption agency. The adoption team are committed to improving outcomes for looked after children and the additional support from the regional agency will enable us to build on our existing effectiveness and find forever homes for more children, more quickly.
“Adoption wouldn't be possible without compassionate people coming forward to provide a supportive and loving home to change the life of a child. We want anyone in Barnsley who is considering adoption to be encouraged to complete an application regardless of their marital status, race, disability, sexuality or gender.”