Following a recent Ofsted inspection Birmingham Children’s Trust Adoption Agency, Adopt Birmingham, has been judged overall as ‘good’, with the effectiveness and leaders and managers found to be ‘outstanding’.
The findings highlighted a number of positive aspects from visits in October and November 2022.
In the report Inspectors paid tribute to ‘the significant piece of work undertaken by leaders and managers’ to form a partnership to become a regional adoption agency, noting that ‘Staff members receive excellent support from the management team, and a range of staff support forums and inspirational leadership promote highly individualised and child-focused work’.
Andy Couldrick, Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Trust, said: “Adopt Birmingham is the largest adoption agency in western Europe recruiting over 50 new adopters every year. For Ofsted to describe the service as ‘innovative and inspirational’ and that the ‘skilled and experienced staff deliver highly individualised, and child focussed work’ is credit to all of our leaders and our staff delivering high-quality services and support to both our existing and future incredible adopters.”
Councillor Karen McCarthy, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “It is extremely positive to read that Birmingham Children’s Trust Adoption Agency, Adopt Birmingham, is going from strength to strength.
“Becoming an adopter to a child or children is a decision that is lifechanging for the individual(s) and the children and young people, so to know they are getting the right levels of support, tailored to individual needs, is very encouraging.”
Some of Ofsted’s specific comments included:
On overall experiences and progress of service users:
- “The agency successfully recruits a variety of adoptive parents, some of whom can care for specific needs identified by the trust, such as brothers and sisters and/or older children.”
- “Recruitment continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and is beginning to increase the number of adoptive parents available, and children placed.”
- “Post-adoption support is comprehensive, well organised and accessible. Support provided is not time limited and is responsive to specific needs.”
On how well children, young people and adults are helped and protected:
- “The agency uses research to inform understanding of the behaviours and responses of children to trauma, loss and attachment. This provides staff and adoptive parents with an enhanced understanding of the impact of early trauma on their children’s behaviour and emotions.”
- “All staff receive child protection and safeguarding training. A lot of work has gone into delivering training on contextual safeguarding, county lines, the ‘Prevent’ duty and gangs.”
On the effectiveness of leaders and managers:
- “The agency’s management team is innovative and inspirational. There is a strong focus on the development of the service, improving the quality of staff practice, increasing the number of adoptive parents, and meeting the assessed needs of children.”
- “The management team uses a range of tools effectively to inform them of how the service is performing and meeting wider need. They have an excellent understanding of the strengths and vulnerabilities of the agency, and this is enabling them to target work that ensures they continue to drive change and improve.”
The voluntary adoption agency recruits, prepares, assesses, and approves adoptive families, finds adoptive families for children referred by Birmingham Children’s Trust and places children from other local authorities with its own adoptive families.
Partnership with a regional adoption agency went live in January 2022.