Wokingham Borough Council’s decision-making executive has approved plans for the council to become part of a regional adoption agency known as Adopt Thames Valley (ATV).
The borough council is currently part of Adopt Berkshire, a partnership of four Berkshire local authorities set up in 2014, which received a ‘good’ adoption judgement from Ofsted in 2015.
The plan is to develop ATV as a shared service between seven local authorities (Bracknell Forest, Oxfordshire, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham, Swindon and Reading) along with two voluntary adoption agencies (PACT and Barnardo’s).
The local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies are designing the new service to cover a larger area, building on the success of Adopt Berkshire.
ATV is being created with support of the Department for Education, which has given funding to help the partner organisations work together to develop a new service that delivers excellent results for children and adopters, while also reducing local authorities’ costs.
Oxfordshire will be hosting the service, but the local authorities involved will have a governance role and maintain accountability for the service.
“The creation of Adopt Thames Valley represents a logical development to enable adoption services to be even more effective and efficient, doing the important work for children and families in our region,” said Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, executive member for children’s services.
“Our experience of, and key role in the development of Adopt Berkshire, will ensure we are able to make a valuable contribution right from the start.
“We expect to see improved results for children through the availability of a larger pool of adopters; improved ability to find forever families for the most vulnerable children who for a range of reasons are unable to live within their birth families and better experiences for people wishing to adopt from better support.”
ATV is due to go live this autumn.