Children who come into North Yorkshire County Council’s adoption service receive an outstanding quality of care, according to inspectors.
In its latest report Ofsted graded North Yorkshire’s adoption service as outstanding in all areas, the only authority in the country to receive such an accolade under a new and tougher set of standards which measure outcomes for children rather than organisational processes.
Over the last three years only six other authorities have been judged outstanding across the board for adoption services, and none others in Yorkshire. Inspectors stated that in North Yorkshire children’s needs are central to the running of the service and that they are provided with stability and safety throughout the adoption process.
They praised the strong and clear leadership and effective monitoring of the service which ensures that children do not experience undue delay and go on to enjoy successful and fulfilling lives with their adoptive families.
The local authority believes good practice is achieved through its ability to attract and retain dedicated and high quality, experienced staff. Ofsted acknowledged the commitment of knowledgeable social workers who were “prepared to go the extra mile” to achieve the best outcomes for children. While many authorities rely heavily on agency social work staff, North Yorkshire manages to retain permanent staff who give of their very best to support children and adoptive families.
At a time also when many local authorities face the issue of large numbers of children waiting for adoption North Yorkshire has been successful in recruiting and developing very skilled adopters to meet the needs of most children in the county who need adoptive families.
Moreover, children benefit from having few placement moves before they join their adoptive parents. Foster carers and family support workers provide crucial support in helping prepare children for adoption. This gives children an excellent opportunity to achieve positive attachments and make a successful transition to their adoptive families.
In its report Ofsted noted that adopters speak very highly of the level of support from the county council; they feel carefully prepared and able to understand the life-long nature of adoption. Extensive discussion and exploration is undertaken to ensure children are suitably matched to adopters who can meet their unique individual needs.
Adopters also commended the service for its honesty and clarity about what kind of children need placements and of the challenges ahead.
The well-being of children is at the centre of everything, said Ofsted. Children are matched with adopters who are right for them and may not necessarily share the same ethnicity so long as in other respects the family can meet the child’s identified needs. Prospective adopters are drawn from all sections of the community and investment in time and energy in creating secure matches means that children are unlikely to experience placement disruption.
County councillor Carl Les, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Social Care said: “We are delighted with the inspectors’ findings and feel this accolade is richly deserved. Our dedicated and experienced staff provides the strong leadership necessary to ensure that children who are placed for adoption, as well as adoptive families, are supported through every step of this complex and challenging process. We are very proud that children placed for adoption in North Yorkshire thrive and are given the best chance to achieve their potential in life- which is the right of every child.”