Quicker adoptions thanks to Wales’ new National Adoption Service

More people are coming forward to adopt and more children are being placed for adoption more quickly following the launch of Wales’ National Adoption Service a year ago today.

The National Adoption Service for Wales was established in November 2014 to increase the pool of adopters and ensure good quality post-adoption support is available to those who need it. It promotes adoption and, most importantly, helps give more children the opportunity to become part of a loving and supportive family.

Since its launch 12 months ago, the National Adoption Service for Wales has had a very positive impact on looked-after children and those wanting to adopt:

  • the average time for a child from becoming looked after to being placed for adoption was 16.5 months in 2014-15 compared to 26 months in 2013-14
  • the number of children placed for adoption has increased by 29%, rising from 300 in 2011-12 to 386 in 2014-15
  • the number of adopters has increased by 51%, from 197 in 2011-12 to 297 in 2014-15.

In his capacity as Health and Social Services Minister, Mark said:

“Wales’ National Adoption Service has had a strong start with local government and the voluntary adoption agencies across Wales working together to deliver more permanent family placements and improve adoption services.

“I want to pay tribute to the families who have been ready and willing to give some of our most vulnerable children the love and stability of a new family; to the hard work of local government in helping to establish the new service and to the third sector agencies which provide the crucial support these families need.”

The Welsh Government has been working with the National Adoption Service on a programme of work to further develop a strategic approach to adoption and adoption support services in Wales. Funding of £110,000 has been made available to the National Adoption Service to take this work forward which will include:

  • developing adoption support services
  • rolling out training about the issue of child/adolescent-to-parent violence
  • developing a recruitment campaign
  • engaging with adopters and adopted children and young people in the work of the National Adoption Service.

Suzanne Griffiths, director of operations at the National Adoption Service said:

“It’s been a good first year for the National Adoption Service. We have seen more children than ever settled with a new family; fewer children are waiting and children are being placed more quickly.

“We have also consulted with adopters and adopted young people so they have been able to inform our priorities. We know we have more to do, particularly where adoption support services are concerned but we’ve made a very good start from which to take this forward.”

Councillor Mel Nott OBE, chair of the National Adoption Service Governance Board said:

“The launch of the National Adoption Service for Wales a year ago today was a significant milestone, supporting us to work side-by-side and meet together the challenge of transforming the way in which we provide care and support to all those involved in adoption across Wales.

“The development and implementation of a national adoption service demonstrates local government’s commitment to offering every child the best possible start in life and it is very pleasing to see early signs of improvement with more children being placed more quickly and increased numbers of adopters being approved.

“These are the sorts of outcomes local government is striving for as it changes delivery models to implement the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.”