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Coast to Coast Regional Adoption Agency

What is Coast to Coast Regional Adoption Agency?

Coast to Coast is a new Regional Adoption Agency which has an ambitious go live date of October 2019. We have a huge journey ahead of us, and we hope you will work with us to develop our new service.

Coast to Coast partner organisations are Cumbria County Council, Durham County Council and Together for Children (Sunderland City Council). The new Regional Adoption Agency is being supported by a Voluntary Adoption Agency alliance which includes After Adoption, ARC Adoption North East, Barnardo’s, Caritas Care Adoption and DFW Adoption.

The Department for Education confirmed funding for the set-up of Coast to Coast in March this year. The bid was successful because of the the strong links and existing partnership arrangements across the three areas and the Voluntary Adoption Agency.

Coast to Coast will follow other Regional Adoption Agencies which have been established in the North:

How is the project being developed?

A Governance Board of Directors of Children’s Services and representative from the VAA Alliance has been established to oversee the project. Beneath the Governance Board, a Project Board with support from a Project Office will lead on the development and implementation of the new service. Seven worksteams have been identified to ensure all the technical elements of the project are delivered (practice, ICT, finance, HR, legal, commissioning, communications). The main milestones for the project are: • Outline Business Case – approved by January 2019 • Final Business Case – approved by April 2019 • Service Live – October 2019

What's in a name?

Coast to Coast Regional Adoption Agency is the name of this project, but it won't necessarily be the name that we use when we launch the agency publically.

The project's Communications Workstream as part of its work is considering different options for names and will be consulting with partners about this later in the year. Look out for information on how you can share your views.

Development workshops

A series of workshops are being organised for July and August. These are high level design workshops and will set the vision / objectives and scope of the Coast to Coast Regional Adoption Agency Service.

The workshops are intended to involve as many people as possible to ensure that we understand the best way to design the service. We will be involving:

• Staff from the Adoption Teams • Children’s Social Care Team Members and Independent Reviewing Officers from the three partner organisations • Adopters and Children • Voluntary Adoption Agencies

Workshop dates

• Together for Children Adoption Team - 06/06/2018 • Durham Adoption Team - 15/06/2018 • Cumbria Adoption Teams - 28/06/2018 • Child Journey Workshop - 02/07/2018 • Adopter Journey Workshop - 04/07/2018 • Regional Adoption Agency and Local Authority interactions Workshop - 09/07/2018 • Roles and Functions of Coast to Coast Workshop - 12/07/2018 • Vision and Objectives Workshop - 08/08/2018 • Voluntary Adoption Agencies Workshop - 10/08/2018 • Performance Management Workshop - 13/08/2018

Background to Regional Adoption Agencies

In June 2015, the Department for Education (DfE) published ‘Regionalising Adoption’. This was enacted as the Education and Adoption Act 2016. There is an expectation that all local authorities would be part of a Regional Adoption Agency by 2020. The vision is for a ‘highly effective adoption service that is seamlessly integrated in the national system’:

• A system where children are matched with the most suitable adopter as quickly as possible • Recruitment taking place at an efficient scale to provide a pool of ‘adoption ready’ adopters large enough and well enough matched to meet the needs of children waiting • Enough high quality adoption support services available nationwide

We asked Peter Windram from the Department for Education who is involved with the development of Regional Adoption Agencies for his take on RAAs. "The government wants every child to have a loving, stable home that’s right for them, and adoption transforms the lives of vulnerable children and their adoptive families in a remarkable way.

"Up to £23m in grant funding has been committed for local authorities to form Regional Adoption Agencies and improve the adoption system. Regional Adoption Agencies will bring together local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies to provide services on a greater scale. They aim to improve the life chances of vulnerable children by speeding up matching and improving adopter recruitment, as well as reducing costs. They will offer a larger pool of adopters and enable children to be matched with the most suitable adopter as quickly as possible. They also aim to improve the consistency and quality of much-needed support for adopted children and their families.

"Regional Adoption Agencies were introduced as a 2015 Manifesto commitment for all local authorities to join an RAA by 2020. There are currently 10 live Regional Adoption Agencies covering a third of local authorities.

"Coast to Coast Regional Adoption Agency is one of 19 RAA projects currently in development. The project was approved by the Minister earlier this year and will look to address these challenges across the Cumbria, Durham and Sunderland areas. The Department is confident that the plans that have been outlined by the Coast to Coast Governance Board and via their project team will deliver improved adoption services across the region." A further ten RAAs involving 72 Local Authorities are well underway, with seven new projects (including Coast to Coast) involving 23 Local Authorities recently approved.

Get in touch

If you would like more information about Coast to Coast Regional Adoption Agency, please contact your project lead:

• Ruth McHugh – Cumbria County Council • Karen Robb – Durham County Council • Kathryn McCabe – Together for Children • Sue Holton – ARC Adoption North East (VAA Alliance)

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