Hartlepool adoption service hailed by Government inspectors

Chris Simmons
Chris Simmons

A COUNCIL’S adoption service has been praised by a team of Government inspectors.

The Department for Education has recently introduced a range of measures aimed at improving the waiting time for the adoption of children and adoptive parents and Hartlepool Borough Council is said to be performing well.

One of the national initiatives has been the introduction of Adoption Scorecards, which are published annually detailing local authority performance around adoption.

A report to the children’s services committee reveals how Hartlepool performed during the 2012-13 municipal year.

The scorecard shows the average time taken between a child entering care and moving to live with his or her adoptive family.

The Government target for “satisfactory performance” is 20 months.

But the figure for Hartlepool is 15.4 months, placing the town at the top of the league table for 11 similar-type councils.

Adoption scorecards detail performance against three key indicators relating to how swiftly children in need of adoption are placed in each local authority area.

Labour councillor Chris Simmons, chairman of the children’s services committee, said: “This is a really positive report and testament to the excellent fostering and adoption team we have in Hartlepool.

“It is always a balance when placing children with adoptive parents to give them the best possible family home within a timescale that is reasonable.

“There is a significant amount of work that goes on to ensure we get the best possible match both for children and their adoptive parents, but feel we have got the balance just right in Hartlepool.”

The number of approved adoptive families, at the end of March last year, was 16. Councils are also scored in relation to the average time between receiving notification from the court to place a child for adoption, with the Government expected threshold set at six months.

Hartlepool’s performance is 4.5 months, placing it third top of similar type authorities.

It comes a day after the council was praised for the way it looks after and protects children by Ofsted, as previously reported.

For more information call (01429) 405588 or email: fosterandadopt@hartlepool.gov.uk