Case studies

Adopting change: helping the DfE match children and families

Reducing fragmentation in the UK adoption system to help children find loving families more quickly

Adoption offers about 5,000 children each year the chance to find loving, permanent homes. In England, adoption services are currently provided by 152 local authorities and about 30 voluntary adoption agencies, along with a number of organisations that support children and adoption placements. The adoption system faces significant challenges in terms of inefficiencies, delays in matching children with adopters and in providing high-quality support to ensure those adoptive families are stable and really meet the needs of children. It’s widely recognised that children suffer when there are delays in finding placements or when adopters don’t receive the levels of support they need.

The Department for Education (DfE) has recognised fragmentation in the system is a key issue contributing to these challenges. Deloitte is helping the government to reduce this fragmentation by working with about 130 local authorities and 20 voluntary adoption agencies to help them merge, creating 19 regional adoption agencies (RAAs). These RAAs will each be able to each work with larger numbers of children and potential adopters, making sure children are matched with the right adopter more quickly. Regional agencies will be designed with excellent adoption practice in mind, taking the best of current practice and using their increased size to invest in new, innovative practices to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children and adopters.

The changes and anticipated improvements:

  • Each region has a unique model of practice to meet local needs
  • Governance arrangements keep the focus on children and adopters
  • There’s a larger pool of adopters, which means:
    • Children are matching more quickly with adopters
    • The matches are more tailored to children’s needs
    • Deloitte has played a key role in helping agencies agree the governance, design the new models and launch the combined agencies.
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