Latest figures show adoption services in Wiltshire continue to be strong, as children and young people are placed with new adoptive families.
The Adoption Scorecard provides a picture of how well local authority adoption services are performing.
Comparative performance for local authorities is via the Adoption Scorecard which, for Wiltshire, shows that performance remains strong with overall continued improvement.
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, while Adoption West has responsibility for the assessment and support of those who would like to adopt.
For the year 2020/21, 23 Adoption Orders have been granted for Wiltshire children and 33 families living in Wiltshire have been approved as suitable to adopt. Of these 18, (78%) were placed within 12 months of the decision being made that adoption was in their best interest. Across the Adoption West area there have been 100 adopter approvals; exceeding the target of 95 approvals by 5%.
Over the last six years, the number of children entering care in Wiltshire where adoption is in their best interest has decreased from 14% in 2014/15 to 12% in 2019/20, reflecting the national picture. This has been more pronounced over the last two years and is primarily driven by an increase in the number of children where a Special Guardianship Order or Child Arrangement Order has been determined to be a better option. In the same period Special Guardianship Orders increased from 11% to 13% nationally. For Wiltshire this is particularly the case for very young children under the age of 4 years old, who are often able to find a loving and supportive home environment with a set of grandparents or connected carers. It is anticipated this trend will continue, and it is likely to lead to more older children requiring an adoptive placement.
The report also highlights a need for more adopters for siblings groups to come forward.
Conservative Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services 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 to us.
It is good to see that we are working well with Adoption West, and as a local authority we continue to ensure we are providing the best for the children in our care. This regular monitoring of key services helps us see what is going well for our children and what we can do to improve. Finding the right homes where young people can live well and have the best possible futures is always the driving force for us.
The report will be reviewed by council leaders at a cabinet meeting on 14 December.
Adoption West became registered and was launched in March 2019. Cabinet on 14 December will also be asked to extend the contract to remain in Adoption West and extend the existing arrangements for a further five years until 28 February 2027.
People who want to know more about adopting can contact Adoption West via the enquiry form on their website or by calling 03303 550333.