Department for Education
Adoption Reform (2nd Update) – April 2014

Welcome to our second April update. In this issue we inform you of the appointment of the new Independent Chair of the Adoption Leadership Board, the new consultation on Intermediary services for relatives of adopted people; the new contract awarded to BAAF to operate the Adoption Register; the publication of the research on adoption disruption, and other news from First4Adoption and BAAF. We hope that you will find this issue informative and helpful.

Sir Martin Narey appointed as Chair of the Adoption Leadership Board
On Monday 14 April the government has announced the appointment of Sir Martin Narey as the Chair of the Adoption Leadership Board - a new national initiative jointly developed by government, councils and voluntary adoption agencies - to drive improvements in the adoption system and ensure that there are enough adopters to provide homes for all the children who are waiting to be adopted.

For more information go to:

Voluntary Adoption Agency (VAA) capacity building
As part of a £16m package of support for the sector, the DfE announced on 4 April the creation of three new VAAs:

• Coram Cambridgeshire Adoption - based in Cambridge and Huntingdon

• ARC Adoption North East - based in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear

• Adopters for Adoption - based in the Midlands

The organisations are newly registered with Ofsted as adoption agencies and have each committed to recruit more than 100 adopters in their first three years.

The DfE also announced the award of contracts to the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies to distribute and manage a £13m VAA expansion grant fund; and to Methods Consultancy to provide tailored business development support to help all VAAs improve their efficiency and plan and implement sustainable growth.

More information is available here:

Consultation: Access to intermediary services for descendants-relatives of adopted people
Last week saw the launch of the Government’s consultation on Intermediary services for descendants-relatives of adopted people. The consultation document is available on both the Department for Education’s website at: and on We are seeking views on who should be included in the list of prescribed persons to access intermediary services to facilitate contact with the birth relatives of the adopted person (section 1 of the Children and Families Bill 2014). Section 1 does not change any of the rules around contact between birth relatives and adopted people.

The consultation lasts until 29 May and we would very much welcome your comments. We would appreciate anything you can do to help us spread the word - perhaps you could tweet about the consultation, post an article or blog on your website or simply forward this email to people you work with?

Adoption Register: New Contract for BAAF and Update on 2013-14 Performance
From April 2014 BAAF will be operating the new Adoption Register for England on behalf of the Department for Education. There is now a separate Register for Wales.

BAAF are still finalising statistics for 2013/14 but they can already report on the headline figures for England.

• The number of children matched as a result of links identified by the Register was over 390, an increase of 20% on the previous year. The number of matches made is the highest number ever recorded in a year.

• There was a very significant increase in the number of prospective adopters referred. 1,313 adopters were referred in 2013-14, an increase of 46% on the previous year. The number of adopters referred was the highest number ever recorded in a year.

• There was a decrease in the number of children referred. 2,748 children were referred in 2013-14, a decrease of 7% on the previous year. This is also the first time there has been a year on year decrease in the number of children referred since 2007/8.

If you have adopters or children to refer to the Register please contact or 0345 2229015

The new website for the Adoption Register can be viewed at

Adoption Disruption Research
On Wednesday 9 April, the department published research on adoption disruptions. The report, by Professor Julie Selwyn at the University of Bristol, finds that the number of adoptions that break down is much lower than previously thought (around 3 in 100) but that many families are struggling to get the support that they need. Parents reported high levels of behavioural difficulties, concerns around transitions from care, concerns around the quality of foster care and social work practice, issues about the linking and matching process, and adoption support (in particular, that provided by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and therapeutic services).

The report has important implications for many areas of social work practice, as well as for expansion of support services, and reinforces the need for many of our reforms. It can be found here:

News from First4Adoption
First4Adoption has appointed a National Recruitment Manager, Paul Sutton ( He will be making contact with agencies and consortia over the coming weeks. Please do get in contact with him if you are planning any recruitment activity.

First4Adoption would like to thank those of you who attended the recent recruitment workshops it ran in London, Birmingham and Manchester. F4A has received great feedback from attendees and hope that it will encourage agencies to think about and approach recruitment differently. F4A is thinking of running another session on 13 May in Bristol – to reserve a place please contact Gemma at

News from BAAF
The videos for the second tranche of the Adoption Reform training on Early Permanency are now available on:

BAAF Website (members only):

or on YouTube (public):

Keeping you in touch
We are sending this update to those we have contact details for and look to you to disseminate this bulletin more widely among your colleagues and members. If you do not wish to receive this update please reply to this email and we will ensure your details are removed before any further updates are circulated. If any of your colleagues would like to be added to our circulation list, they should send their name, email address, job title and contact details to

If you have any suggestions as to how we might make these updates more useful to you – or items you would like to see – please let us know by contacting the email address above.

Adoption Reform Team
Department for Education
April 2014