The Panel received a presentation from Paula Gibbons, Head of the Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) who provided an update on Adopt Coast to Coast which was launched virtually on 1 April 2021. The Head of Service extended her thanks to the staff within the three spokes of Cumbria, Durham and Together for Children for the hard work that had gone into making the launch a success.
Members were informed that the partnership builds upon the strengths across the three services and that performance in 2020-21 included 77 adopters approved and 130 children matched. The Head of the RAA described the key priority areas for the future including the development of the branding, streamlining processes to reflect best practice, the promotion of early matching and the further development of the post adoption support offer.
Members praised the positive progress and in response to a question from Councillor Reed regarding the assessment of prospective adopters, the Head of the RAA clarified that the service investigates all options which are in the best interests of the child, including assessing foster carers and extended family members as adopters.
Councillor B Bainbridge acknowledged the foster to adopt approach which is a really positive initiative.
The Chair congratulated the Head of the RAA on the launch, adding that he is looking forward to seeing the service develop, through maximising efficiency and improving outcomes for children and young people.