UK & World News
Adoption Scheme To Help 'Overlooked' Children
A new project is aiming to find and train more adoptive parents for children who, because of age or ethnicity, might be overlooked.
The scheme has been developed by the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) and professional services firm Baker Tilly, with 18 voluntary adoption agencies helping them to set it up.
CVAA chairwoman Jan Fishwick, chief executive of adoption agency Parents And Children Together (PACT) which is to take part in the project, said: "There are many families who have a desire to adopt and who would provide a loving, stable home for these children.
"However, they may not have considered adopting an older child, they may doubt their own abilities, or be worried about a lack of long term support.
"We hope that this scheme will encourage them to come forward in the knowledge that they will receive comprehensive training and guaranteed guidance and support throughout the early years."
It is hoped 100 placements will be found every year through the scheme, with that number rising to more than 300 with additional funding.
The finance for the programme has been provided through the first adoption Social Impact Bond (SIB), with Bridges Ventures and Big Society Capital investing £2m to pay for the scheme.
It will be repaid by local authorities and the Cabinet Office's social outcomes fund from the savings made through not having a child in care for the same period of two years.
Each local authority will pay about £54,000 per child for the service over a two-year period, which is about half the cost of keeping a child in care for that time.
Private investors will fund 24-hour support for parents in the first two years of adoption to reduce the chance of placements failing.
If successful, their investment will be repaid by councils from the big savings made from not putting children in care.
In theory, investors could see a 4% return, but the rewards could be far higher.
It took four years for Aysha, nine, and her brothers, Kalum, eight, and Kieron, 10, to be adopted.
As they got older, and because there were three of them, finding a home became increasingly difficult.
Adoptive father Joe said: "We weren't planning to take three, but when our social worker presented them we just fell in love with them.
"The moment I saw them I knew they were the children for us.
"The first year or two was really tough and challenging because they already had a personality, they come with some issues and you need to make sure you can help them work through them and become a family."
Joe's wife Julie said: "Because our children had been through a lot of trauma and neglect prior to being placed with us they had issues that needed to be dealt with.
"So we did need a lot of support from our local authority as well as our social worker because they did come with challenging behaviour."
For the children, who now live in the Midlands, adoption has changed their lives.
"It's good because when you're in care you don't really have someone to hug and kiss as much as when you're adopted," said Aysha.
"I probably wouldn't have been able to do anything I could do now without my mum and my dad," said Kalum.
"It's changed my life by having more things to do with them, like going on family holidays and stuff," said Kieron.
Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said: "Social investment and new investments like SIBs give us the chance to try new approaches to tackle social problems.
"It is a new source of funding to social enterprises and we are proud to be leading the world in developing it."