Adoption service missing targets

THE adoption service in North Somerset is failing to achieve national targets.

It is not meeting set timescales and children are having to wait too long to be adopted, according to figures recently released.

Youngsters have to wait an average of eight months longer than national guidelines suggest, to move in with adoptive parents after entering the care system.

North Somerset is also one of 72 authorities across the country that missed its target of matching a child to a family within seven months of a court order being made to do so – its figure stands at nearly eight months.

Less than half of youngsters in North Somerset are adopted within 21 months of entering the care system – another target set nationally.

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North Somerset Council says it finds adoptive places for 14 per cent of children in care, while the national average is 12 per cent.

A council spokesman said this week that finding families for older children can take a lot longer as there are ‘far fewer’ adoptive families able and willing to consider older children for adoption.

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It says it is working to recruit more adopters in North Somerset and has recently had a rise in inquiries about adoption, which it says may be the result of some positive media coverage.

The figures, released by the Department for Education, are based on average scores from 2009-2011.

North Somerset Council’s adoption service was inspected by Ofsted last year and graded as outstanding.

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