Praise for adoption services

A SENIOR councillor has praised staff after Hartlepool was named third in a national table for its swift adoption process.

Over the three-year period covering 2008-2010, Hartlepool Borough Council managed to place 95 per cent of its children in care with an adoptive family within 12 months.

The town was listed behind York which topped the table, and South Tyneside Council which was ranked in second place.

Speaking after a meeting of the council’s children’s services portfolio, staff were praised by Labour councillor Chris Simmons

Coun Simmons, who is the portfolio holder, said: “I am delighted that Hartlepool is a front-runner nationally for its adoption service.

“It just confirms what I have known for a long time that officers work very hard to get the best outcomes for young people no matter what area of the service they are in.

“Both the fostering and adoption services have seen huge steps forward over recent years.

“My congratulations go to all those that have made a contribution.”

The positive news for Hartlepool came as Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to name and shame under-performing local authorities that are failing children up for adoption and fostering.

Launching the Give a Child a Home campaign at the start of national adoption week, Mr Cameron said councils that do not improve could be taken over by more effective authorities, or have their services contracted out privately, as reported in yesterday’s Mail.

The average timescale from across the country is two years and seven months to complete the process from the moment a child is deemed suitable for adoption, to the point where they are placed with a family.

Durham came 17th in the list, with 88 per cent of youngsters adopted within the year.