A new approach for people looking to adopt in the Black Country has been launched.
The City of Wolverhampton Council already works closely with Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall Councils to deliver some adoption services through the Adoption in the Black Country consortium which has been in place for more than ten years.
Now, a new regional adoption agency is being created by the four councils, and this initial phase sees the launch of the adoption@heart website and a fresh new look to the information available to prospective adopters in the region.
The new agency, when in place, will revolutionise the way adoption services are run across the Black Country, combining existing services of Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall councils to speed up the adoption process and reduce the amount of time looked after children are in care.
The average wait time for children in care being adopted in the City has reduced by over 30% over the last 4 years. In 2013 the average time was 962 days and by 2016 the average time had been reduced to 672 days.
Detailed plans will be considered by Wolverhampton’s cabinet in March.
Councillor Val Gibson, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We’ve worked hard at reducing our average waiting times for children in care being adopted but we need to go further and we need to go faster.
“We have a positive approach to securing adoption for all children and wherever possible support our foster carers to adopt a child that has been in their care.
“We’re happy to be part of the new service and the launch of the new brand and website is the first step to us providing a regional adoption agency in the Black Country.
“We hope this approach will bring about a change to the adoption process and increase the number of children being matched with people wanting to adopt.”
Plans for the regional adoption agency are well underway, with a full launch planned over the coming months.
There will be a number of activities during March in the Black Country for people to learn more about adoption. To book a slot at one of these events prospective adopters are asked to visit the new regional website www.adoptionheart.org.uk, call the free-phone adoption helpline on 0800 073 0597 or simply text adoption to 88802.