Adoption takes longer in Calderdale but agencies don't give up trying to find children a home, councillors told

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It takes longer than the national average for Calderdale children who need adoptive families to find and move in with them, councillors heard.

But this is because agencies do not give up trying to find a home for children who, for example, may have different needs, who are older or are part of a sibling group, says a regional agency.

Rhian Benyon, service delivery manager for One Adoption West Yorkshire, said: “We don’t give up – that impacts on our timescales.

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“We are generally successful, not many children don’t manage to find a family,” she said.

Generic photo of a familyGeneric photo of a family
Generic photo of a family

The guideline national figure is 426 days, but it take an average of 540 in Calderdale.

Agencies are still looking for families willing to adopt children.

Nationally, there are more adopters available than children needing adoption but numbers in West Yorkshire are described as “stable”.

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“We are working very hard to get as many people as possible to consider adopting our children,” said Ms Benyon.

Campaigns to encourage this take place and support is given to adoptive parents.

Councillors asked questions about children with special educational needs and disabilities, issues around crucial GP assessments for adopters, fostering and reasons why it took longer for some children to be adopted than others.

As of the end of March 2022 in Calderdale there were 18 children with a plan for adoption not currently placed and requiring adopters, with three of the children aged over five and some part of a sibling group.

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Where possible siblings are kept together when they are adopted.

Between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, 15 Calderdale children had a plan for adoption ratified.

In West Yorkshire, 2021-22 saw 112 adoptive families approved and 106 families matched with children. Within the 112 households, 206 individuals were approved.

Only ten per cent of adopters are from minority ethnic backgrounds, similar to 2020-21, indicating a continuing need to increase diversity of adopters, Calderdale Council’s Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee heard.

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Although during the first half of 2022-23 there has been a big increase in the number of West Yorkshire families making a formal application to begin first stage adoption processes, by stage two the number remains consistent with previous yearly averages.