The adoption process is to be sped up in Bradford, thanks to a programme of improvements funded by Government cash.
There are 77 children in the district waiting to be adopted by a loving family.
Bradford Council has been given a £1.97 million Government grant to reduce this backlog, as part of a nationwide drive by the Department for Education to speed up the adoption process.
According to the latest Government figures for Bradford, covering 2010 to 2013, adopted children spent an average of 610 days in care before being placed with their new family. The national average was even higher, at 647 days.
So far, Bradford Council has spent about £737,000 making improvements to the system, and now it has set out plans to spend the remaining £1.236m in the next financial year.
The proposals include:
- building a system which tracks children through the adoption process
- creating two teams of workers who will help reduce the time it takes to become an approved adopter
- making more people aware of adoption through wider publicity and better online support
- giving more support to adopters when they are matched with a child, as well as responsive help after the adoption has taken place.
Councillor Ralph Berry, executive member for children’s services, said: “The plans that are proposed are about putting young people’s needs first.
“They would mean we can place more children and young people with a loving family within the district and do so more quickly.”
The proposals build on improvements which have already taken place, such as giving staff in the authority’s adoption service extra training in therapy and counselling.
The Council has also appointed a Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service worker to help adoptive families meet the emotional needs of their new children, who have often had difficult experiences in their short lives so need extra care and support.
Julie Jenkins, Bradford Council’s assistant director of children’s specialist services, said: “These proposals, along with the changes we have already made, will help us strengthen what we provide as well as speed up the process of adoption.
“We will continue our principle of placing children for adoption locally where it is safe to do so. This means that we can offer better support for families in a co-ordinated way.”
The proposals will go to the Council’s executive meeting on Tuesday.