South Yorkshire agency could be set up for adoptions
A regional adoption agency could be set up in South Yorkshire to find forever families for children and cut down on costs.
A council has to pay £27,000 to a neighbouring authority if a child is adopted over the border and £31,000 if voluntary adoption agencies are involved.
Last year 16 children were placed with families outside Sheffield Council. Of these, 10 were with other local authorities and six were with adoption agencies.
Placing a single child with another council’s adopters costs £27,000 and the fee for a sibling group of two is £43,000.
The fee for adoption agencies is £31,000 for a single child and £50,000 for a sibling group of two.
Council officers say by looking outside Sheffield, a child can leave care more quickly and the costs are offset against this in the longer run.
Sheffied Council has also provided adoptive homes for five children from other local authorities under the same fee arrangements.
Now officers are looking into a regional agency which would mean there was a bigger pool of adoptive families and no more charges.
Paul Dempsey, assistant director of provider services, told a council meeting: “There’s a financial agreement in place and that’s set by Government.
“We want to make the best match for our children it may be the right match is in Barnsley or Chesterfield and that Sheffield has a family for a child in Rotherham.
“Regional agencies pool resources so the councils can recruit more adopters and wouldn’t need to buy or sell placements between authorities.
“We are striving to recruit enough adopters in Sheffield. Regional agencies are new and there is always a transition period to set up one from scratch so to be at full potential the next day is unrealistic.
“We wouldn’t be looking to achieve cost efficiency straight away, that would come when it’s been in operation for some time but it would be a better service and cost neutral.”
A new project manager will develop a business case with a view to setting up a regional adoption agency.