TOGETHER FOR CHILDREN’S Adoption Services have maintained their Ofsted rating of ‘good’ following a full inspection in November 2022.
Together for Children Adoption Sunderland provides services on behalf of Sunderland City Council and is also a partner of the regional adoption agency, Adopt Coast to Coast.
Inspectors met with adopters, children, social workers and managers, exploring recruitment, training, and support.
Ofsted described the Adoption service in their report very positively; “Adoptive families benefit from the wraparound service provided by a long-standing and stable staff team. This is a particular strength of the agency”. They go on to reflect in the inspection outcome that “The agency recognises the importance of the adopter’s family and friends in the preparation and matching stages of the process.”
One adopter fed back that in relation to ‘child appreciation days’ and ‘bump-into’ meetings ‘These are absolutely invaluable. It has given so many fabulous insights into my child’s life from birth to present day.’
Another adopter interviewed as part of the Inspection commented: “We have felt welcomed and supported. Our whole experience from start to finish was fantastic; we recommended the agency to our friends, who have now been approved to adopt.”
Reflecting on the Inspection outcome, Jill Colbert, Chief Executive and Director of Children’s Services for Together for Children said: “The Ofsted outcome we have achieved is testament to our staff’s continued hard work. I am proud that the Ofsted Inspectors recognise the excellent work the adoption team deliver identifying the team as ‘passionate about [their] role and aspirational about the agency.'”
Ofsted also recognised within the inspection that adoptive families benefit from the wraparound service provided by a long-standing and stable staff team and that that this was a particular strength of the agency ‘…from first contact through to post-adoption assistance.’
Councillor Louise Farthing, Children’s Services Portfolio Holder at Sunderland City Council, said: “Ofsted’s report highlights the amazing service that the team deliver through the adoption agency model and the successes it is delivering in both identifying families but also supporting them through their journey and beyond. Their positive experience has led to adopters being strong advocates for others interested in adoption.”
Majella McCarthy, Directors of Children’s Social Care added: “I welcome the comments of the Inspectors, in particular the feedback they received during the inspection from adopters and professionals who describe the staff as ‘going over and beyond to help’ and of being ‘professional, caring and informative’.
“We have already started to address the three recommendations made by the Inspector which will strengthen our work.”
In its first year as part of the Coast to Coast model Together for Children has supported finding homes for 120 children and approved 77 adopters in 2021/22.
- Full details, including a link to the Ofsted report, can be found on the Ofsted website here: 50202572 (ofsted.gov.uk)
- As part of the Inspection, Ofsted look closely at the experiences and progress of children and young people, using the social care common inspection framework. This inspection was carried out under the Care Standards Act 2000 to assess the effectiveness of the service, how it meets the core functions of the service as set out in legislation, and to consider how well it complies with the Voluntary Adoption Agencies and the Adoption Agencies (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2003, the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005, any other relevant legislation, and the national minimum standards
- The adoption team in Sunderland undertake the recruitment, assessment, training and support services for prospective adopters, children adopted, members of the adoptive family, birth families and significant adults. The agency also provides post-adoption support to adoptive families, including services which enables indirect contact arrangements between adopted children and their birth families, work with adopted adults, and support to birth families.
- Adopt Coast to Coast is responsible for supporting the development of the services provided by each partner and for the recruitment of prospective adopters. By sharing resources and knowledge, Adopt Coast to Coast can also offer greater support and a more responsive service both during the adoption process and on an on-going basis through post-adoption support.
- Adopt Coast to Coast hosts two online information events every month – to book a space or to find out more about adoption go to www.adoptcoasttocoast.org.uk or call 03000 268 268.