Wiltshire gains good marks with its Adoption Scorecard figures

Latest figures show adoption services in Wiltshire are continually improving, as children and young people are placed with a new adoptive family quicker than the national average.

The Adoption Scorecard is published by the Government and gives a national picture of how well local authority adoption services are performing.

Since April 2019, Conservative led Wiltshire Council has been part of a regional adoption agency, Adoption West; however, it still has responsibility for the journey of its own children to adoption whilst Adoption West has responsibility for the assessment and support of those who would like to adopt.

For the year 2019/20, 22 Adoption Orders have been granted for Wiltshire children and 21 families living in Wiltshire have been approved as suitable to adopt, part of  a much bigger group of adopters approved by Adoption West.

The average time for a child entering care and then moving in with an adoptive family, with estimated figures for 2017-2020, is 339 days. For the previous three-year period, 2015-2018, the figure shows 397 days much shorter than the England three-year average of 486 for the same period.

Conservative Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills said: "Finding the right family for our children and young people so they have a secure, stable and happy home life is of paramount importance.

"It is good to see that we are working well with Adoption West but also on a local authority level we need to ensure we are doing right by each and every child in our care. This holds up a mirror and helps us assess what is going well for our children and what we can do to continue to provide an even better service."

The report was reviewed by council leaders at this week's cabinet meeting (14 July).

The figures reflect the outcome of the Ofsted inspection of Children's Services in June 2019, which noted that adoption work in the local authority, and in partnership with Adoption West, is a strength.

Adoption West became registered and was launched in March 2019. The business model for Adoption West is that of an independently managed Voluntary Adoption Agency, discrete from the local authorities it serves.